Fish & Game warns people to avoid wintering wildlife

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Wintering mule deer on Ammon Hill east of Idaho Falls. (Photo by John Gatens)

With the winter season continuing to offer people a chance to view Idaho's wildlife against snow-covered hillsides, officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game urge these individuals to do so from a distance.

"Winter can be very stressful for wildlife, especially in winters like this when snow is deep and temperatures are cold," said Mike Demick, conservation information supervisor with the state fish and game department.

In addition, Fish and Game officials offered a few tips for people to follow to help wildlife make it through winter:

* Drive slowly, especially at night. Elk and deer are congregating in lowlands, often along roadways. Be on the lookout, and give them space.

* Don't ski, trek or ride a snowmobile on any hillside that has animal tracks or visible wildlife. The presence of humans tends to increase the stress on wildlife.

* Keep dogs on a leash.

* Never feed wildlife because this can make them sick or even kill them. This can also inadvertently "bait" range animals and other wildlife away from traditional feeding sites while causing problems for neighbors.

* Homes located in or near big game winter range should note that deer and elk will often eat ornamental shrubs. However, the plants will grow back.

* Those with deer and elk in their neighborhood should remain cautious since the presence of game animals often attracts predators like mountain lions.

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