So far, the numbers tell a successful survival story for Idaho’s wild game over the winter of 2017-2018. According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 97 percent of elk calves and 88 percent of deer fawns captured and fitted with collars during the winter are still alive.
Survival rates from a year ago were much different when 80 percent of calves and 55 percent of fawns survived. When the winter of 2016-2017 came to a close, only 30 percent of collared fawns and 54 percent of calves survived which equated to the lowest survival rates in Idaho over the last 20 years.
Warmer temperatures combined with lighter snowpack, especially at lower elevations, made it easier for wildlife to find food and avoid predators. Still, calves and fawns are not in the clear as March and April are when biologists usually see the highest death rates.
(Photo source: Wyatt Braun-Landrum)