SW Region Big Game Winter Feeding Update - February 1, 2017

It’s been more than a week since we had significant snowfall across the region, but snow levels remain fairly static and crusted in most areas due to cold daytime temperatures. It appears we might get a little relief from the cold later this week. Let’s all hope so.

Winter feeding efforts have ramped up considerably in the last few days, with feed sites scattered across the (mostly) southern portion of the region. Here’s a rundown of the latest winter feeding efforts.

Garden Valley/Lowman area – There are now 18 active feed sites scattered along the Banks/Lowman highway between Garden Valley and the upper Lowman area (near Sourdough Lodge). These include a few sites near private residences that are experiencing elk  damage. A local Garden Valley resident has been hired and is distributing deer and elk pellets on a daily basis. Currently, about 295 elk and 400 deer are coming into these feed sites.

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Evin Oneale, IDFG

Mule deer at Garden Valley feed site

Please avoid disturbing these animals by wandering into any of the designated feed sites. Wolf and lion hunters are reminded that hunting is not allowed within one-half mile of any Fish and Game big game feeding site (see page 96 of the big game rule book).

Weiser area – A herd of approximately 300 elk are now being fed on private ground in the Weiser Flats area west of town.

In the Weiser Cove area east of town, five deer feed sites have been established, with two additional sites coming on line by week’s end. We are working with private landowners on this effort and expect to feed up to 1,400 mule deer at these seven sites. These animals will consume about nine tons of deer pellets each week!

An elk feed site is currently being set up in Weiser Cove to zone a herd of 500 animals away from the deer sites.

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Evin Oneale, IDFG

Mule deer herd near Weiser, Idaho

Cambridge area – An elk feeding effort began last week involving about 60 animals. Another larger group of 150+ elk is in the area; we’re hoping this herd with move to the feed site on their own. If not, a hazing operation might be employed to encourage these animals to join the other group.

Emmett area – A deer feeding operation is being set up now east of town, with anticipation that it will be active by week’s end. Deer pellets are being delivered today (February 1), and we anticipate feeding about 600 deer at this site. More than 100 elk are also in the area, so we’re strategizing how to feed the elk to keep them away from the deer feeding operation.

Sixty tons of deer and elk pellets (30 tons each) are being delivered next week to further supply feed to all these locations. These weekly deliveries will continue for the remainder of the winter.