MISSOULA, Mont.—In response to a decision by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation contributed $25,000 to assist with emergency wildlife feeding operations.
“We are seeing some extreme conditions across parts of Idaho, especially in lower elevations on historic elk and deer winter range, so we recognize the struggle wildlife is currently facing and are more than willing to help,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.
IDFG implemented emergency feeding operations at nearly 110 different locations across southern and eastern Idaho. Wildlife managers estimate the department is feeding approximately 10,000 mule deer, nearly 10,000 elk and about 100 pronghorn at the feeding sites.
“Winter feeding is a big deal for us right now,” said Ed Schriever, IDFG deputy director. “This is a winter like we haven’t experienced in about 20 years in southern Idaho.”
The goals of emergency feeding including helping some animals get through the winter, particularly mule deer, and keeping wildlife away from agriculture operations, highways and populated areas where they can be hazards or nuisances.
“We are anticipating experiencing some winter mortality despite feeding,” said Jon Rachael, IDFG state game manager. “We do not have a prediction at this stage how many deer we expect to lose this winter.”
The Henry’s Creek wildfire this past August scorched elk and deer winter range on and near the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in southeast Idaho. RMEF is standing by to assist with pending seeding and weed treatments this spring.
At the request of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, RMEF also contributed funds toward on-going emergency wildlife feeding operations in that state.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 220,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.