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Fish and Game to trap, relocate elk in southern Idaho

Officials says the elk are damaging crops on private property in the Little Camas region.
Credit: IDFG
Corral used to hold elk during the trapping and translocation operation.

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is gearing up to trap and relocate elk this month responsible for causing repeated crop damage in the Little Camas region of southern Idaho.

Fish and Game says elk in this area have a long history of expensive damage to crops on private property during the night. They then retreat to nearby private property during the day.

Up to 70 cows and calves will be trapped and transported to central Idaho. Any bulls captured in the trapping effort will be anesthetized, ear-tagged and released on-site.

Currently, elk populations are high in southern Idaho and crop damage has been on the rise over the past several years.

Elk numbers in the Smoky-Bennett Zone, which includes the area around Little Camas Reservoir are above the population objectives. Last year, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission increased the number of antlerless elk tags sold to slow the growth of the herds within the zone.

This type of effort is both dangerous and stressful to wildlife as well as Fish and Game employees involved in the trapping process.

Safety is a top priority when trapping and relocating wild animals. To keep employees and elk safe, extensive planning has occurred to address a wide range of possible scenarios that might happen during the trapping and transporting of elk.

It is possible that a small number of elk may die. Any elk that die due to the trapping effort will be promptly field-dressed, refrigerated, and then processed before being donated to area food pantries.

These elk reside almost exclusively on private property and offer very little access to hunters to harvest them during the hunting season. The elk trapped near Little Camas Reservoir will be translocated deep into central Idaho. Up to 22 adult cow elk will be fitted with radio collars.

Because all activity will be on private ground, there will not be any disruption to ongoing hunting seasons.