Good news: the majority of Idaho’s collared mule deer fawns and elk calves survived the winter. This week, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) reported the statewide winter survival rate of radio-collared fawns and calves was above average with 73% of collared fawns and 84% of collared calves still alive through March, the Idaho County Free Press reports.
“In terms of winter survival, it looks like this year is going to come in above average, which would mean more young animals are recruited into the herds, and that would be great news for our deer and elk populations and our hunters,” said Daryl Meints, IDFG deer and elk program coordinator. “We still have another month and a half to go before those ‘young of the year’ are recruited into the population and we will continue monitoring through June 1, but I’m hopeful the final numbers will remain above average.”
Biologists will continue to monitor collared fawns and calves through June 1.
IDFG attributes this above-average survival rate with a mild winter and early spring weather though Meints says there is still the likelihood that “some additional animals will die before June 1.”
“While it’s not going to be a record-setting year, if the favorable weather conditions continue, 2019-20 is still going to be a pretty good year for over-winter survival of radio collared fawns and elk calves,” said Meints.
According to the Idaho County Free Press, IDFG biologists collared 193 mule deer fawns and 180 elk calves early in the winter along with 516 mule deer does and 542 elk cows. Out of the entire group of collared animals, the winter survival rate through March was 96% and 98%, respectively.
“Our does and cows are also faring very well this year,” said Meints.