BLM: Stressed Elk & Deer Precautions

DATE: Jan. 30, 2017

CONTACT: BLM, Heather Tiel-Nelson, (208) 736-2352

IDFG, Kelton Hatch, (208) 324-4359

Stressed Elk and Deer Herds in Blaine County Require Extra Precautions this Winter

Herds are particularly vulnerable east of Highway 75 from Carey to Ketchum

SHOSHONE, ID – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Shoshone Field Office has teamed up with Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to work alongside Blaine County and the cities of Bellevue and Hailey to remind residents to minimize impacts to wildlife.  This winter’s deep snows and cold temperatures have proven particularly harsh for elk and deer herds east of Highway 75 from Carey to Ketchum.

According to Shoshone BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner John Kurtz, “The Quigley drainage east of Hailey is really important for these animals this winter. We encourage people to avoid the trails and south facing slopes in that drainage.”  Kurtz pointed out that other trails can be found west of Hailey, including the Croy Creek trail system.  “Forcing animals to move during a winter like this one is the last thing they need,” Kurtz added.

Signs will be posted at several informal trailheads east of Hwy 75 from Ohio Gulch to Bellevue with the following information:

  • Please recreate elsewhere when deer or elk are present.  Minimize impacts by turning around when wildlife are sighted and keep dogs on leash.
  • It is critical that wildlife are not disturbed; they are struggling to survive through the winter and early spring.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation to avoid these areas for the time being. While we have set up several feeding operations at different locations within Blaine County, it is evident that the herds are stressed and still facing a long winter,” said IDFG Regional Manager, Toby Boudreau.

IDFG also offers these tips for encountering wildlife:

  • 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 or trek, or ride a snowmobile on any hillside that has animal tracks or visible wildlife. Your presence will increase stress on wildlife.
  • Keep your dogs on a leash.
  • Please don’t feed wildlife, you could make them sick or even kill them. You can also inadvertently bait them away from traditional feeding sites and cause problems for neighbors.
  • If your home is located in or near big game winter range, deer and elk will often eat ornamental shrubs. The plants will grow back.
  • Mountain lions follow prey and if you have prey (deer and elk) in your neighborhood, you may have predators nearby too.  Please be aware.

Visit the Idaho Fish and Game website for more information about criteria for winter feeding and for weekly updates on conditions and efforts throughout the state.  Go to

For more information about optional recreation areas, contact the BLM Shoshone Field Office, 208-732-7200 or Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 208-324-4359.

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