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Extended winter causing stress for Idaho wildlife

Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-13 19:33:15-04

IDAHO — This year's winter is lasting longer than expected causing stress on Idaho's wild animals.

Longer winter seasons have adverse effects on many wildlife animals, such as deer and elk, that rely on fat deposits to get them through the season.

“The strategy for deer and elk in the winter is to basically conserve the use of that fat to get them through, you know, three-and-a-half to four months of winter,” said Mike McDonald, Regional Wildlife Manager for Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG).

IDFG is asking recreationists to help alleviate these stress levels by either delaying their time out in the wilderness or avoiding areas that have a high concentration of wildlife.

“These animals around here are on an energy budget and anything you do that causes them to expend more energy than they normally would - that's additive and that, potentially, is going to affect survival down the road,” said McDonald.

This time of year is critical for animal survival and any way Idahoans can contribute can lead to healthy population levels in Idaho wildlife.

Local recreationists recognize some people may not understand this and that is why it is important to spread the word and help to minimize stress levels in wild animals.

“You’ve got to figure out what's more important,” said Andrew Dipietro, owner of Idaho Motorcycle Tours. “We've got to keep them separated. They're not part of our world. We do get to enjoy them, but they're not part of our world ... They're not pets.”

For more information on animal stress levels during winter, click here.