LEWISTON - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be conducting aerial surveys of deer and elk populations in the Clearwater region in big game management units 11 and 11A during December. After completion, IDFG plans to survey portions of big game management units 13, 14 and 18. Results of these surveys will provide information from which management decisions will be based for determining future hunting seasons. The flights are scheduled to cover the same units at the same time every year to make the information gathered comparable from year to year. The goal is to compare population trends, and age and sex ratios. A helicopter flying low and slow over some of the most remote areas of the state is the most efficient tool for gathering big game herd information. IDFG surveys Idaho's big game herds mostly during winter months when the animals are congregated on lower elevation winter ranges. The winter months also bring two requirements needed to conduct accurate surveys, clear weather for good visibility and snow covering that aid in locating and identification of species.