IDAHO FALLS - What started out as an idea by local county commissioners to reopen a popular farm to market road three years ago has continued to be a success not just for humans, but also for wintering wildlife. The lack of human disturbance created by the closure has allowed herds of deer, elk, and moose to spend more time down on the desert between St. Anthony and Dubious during crucial portions of the late winter and early spring. For the third year, the Egin-Hamer Area Closure places nearly 500 square miles of land off-limits to human entry for the protection of wintering deer, elk, and moose herds. The closure begins on January first and lasts through the end of March on lands south of the Egin-Hamer Road and until April 30, north of the road. This arrangement was agreed upon when county commissioners approached the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with the idea of the area closure in return for the re-opening of the Egin-Hamer Road for winter travel. State agencies such as the Department of Fish & Game and the Department of Lands also have land involved in the closure and play an active role in management. Individual landowners accessing their own private lands are exempt from the closure. The active St. Anthony Sand Dunes are also exempt from the closure. Boundaries of the closure are posted and free detailed maps are available from the BLM or IDFG in Idaho Falls. The Fremont and Jefferson County Sheriffs' Offices also have copies of the map available. According to IDFG observations, the increased number of animals staying down on the desert later into the spring is a sign of the success of the project. In addition to the area closure, antler collecting is specifically prohibited in the following units from 01/01/01 through 04/30/01: Units 60, 60A, 66, 66A, 67, 68, 68A, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 73A, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78. Both the closure and gathering prohibition designed to reduce the harmful impact caused by humans searching for shed antlers.