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February 3, 2011

Deer and elk outlook good for fall hunts

By Ed Mitchell, IDFG

   Deer and elk numbers are meeting management objectives in most parts of the state, but hunter numbers are down.

   White-tail deer are meeting management objectives for buck harvest throughout the state.

   Mule deer exceed management objectives for buck to doe ratio. Statewide fawn survival last winter was about 70 percent, with high doe survival.

   It's too early to tell how the mulies will fare this winter, but Fish and Game hopes to get a better idea from the 193 fawns, biologist recently captured and radio-collared.

   Deer tag sales - white-tail and mule deer - have declined by 12,715 tags since 2008, when Fish and Game sold 145,869 tags. It dropped to 133,154 tags in 2010 - a decrease of about 9 percent.

   Female elk meet or exceed objectives in 23 of 29 elk management zones; they are below objectives in six zones. Bull elk meet or exceed objectives in 20 zones and are below objectives in nine zones.

   Fish and Game is conducting aerial surveys in the Panhandle, Dworshak, Boise River, Middle Fork, Lemhi and Teton elk zones this winter to update elk herd information in those zones.

Elk tag sales are down by 7,800 tags. Tag sales went from 92,565 in 2008 to 84,765 in 2010 - a decline of about 8 percent.

   Overall elk hunter success rates are about 20 percent.

   Fish and Game managers will bring proposed 2011 deer and elk seasons to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in late March.

   For details of deer and elk status in Idaho go to the Fish and Game Web site - http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and from the Hunting home page, select "Game Species Info."

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