Elk move down to urban Idaho areas during winter

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jan 12, 2022

In coming winter months, Idaho residents can expect to see more elk moving down to urban areas across Idaho.

Over the weekend, four elk became entangled or trapped in residential areas of Blaine County, according to Idaho Fish and Game. One elk was tangled in a horse halter and lead rope, others in bailing twine. One elk was stuck in a window well, according to Terry Thompson, Regional Communications Manager for Idaho Fish and Game.

Window well coverings are recommended as long as they are easy to remove during an emergency.

Idaho Fish and Game recommend removing all backyard furniture and playground equipment during the winter. Also make sure that cords, ropes, wires, and string lights are stored away.

“Every year mule deer and elk across Idaho are traveling from their high summer ranges down to these lower elevation winter ranges, and often times those big game winter ranges but up against towns all across Idaho,” said Garret Visser, conservation program coordinator for the Idaho Wildlife Federation.

Lots of snow in mountain ranges will continue to push elk down to lower elevations.

“We are seeing an increase in residential areas being built in what was prime and historic winter range so that’s causing either a habitat loss, either directly through that building of residential areas, or an indirect loss through avoidance from increased human presence there,” said Visser.

Learning to coexsist will be key.

“These entanglement calls are a reminder to all Valley residents to make sure that they wildlife-proof their homes and barns so that wildlife doesn’t get tangled in household or livestock equipment, and, homeowners should cover their window wells to help keep wildlife out of the deep wells” said Senior Conservation Officer Brandyn Hurd in a press release.

If an elk becomes tangled up or trapped, reach out to your regional Idaho Fish And Game office.