Elk Calf Capture Planned

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As part of a long-term investigation, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will begin capturing and placing radio collars on about 30 elk calves in each of two north central Idaho study areas during late May and early June.

Calves less than four days old will be spotted from a helicopter, then biologists will attempt to capture them by hand. The calves will be weighed, measured, evaluated, and fitted with an expanding mortality-sensing radio collar. The collar is made to expand since the calves grow rapidly. The radios will be monitored frequently and when a mortality signal is detected, a biologist will visit the site as soon as possible to determine the fate of the calf.

Calves will be captured along the South Fork of the Clearwater River in big game Unit 15, an area with good calf survival, and along the Lochsa and North Fork of the Clearwater rivers in portions of big game units 10 and 12, areas that have been showing poor survival.

With this calf mortality information, biologists hope to develop a better understanding of the factors that influence elk recruitment so the department can improve management of elk populations.