It must drive those critters crazy to hear, “Turn right in 400 feet. Recalculating. Arriving at Winter Range on left. Recalculating.” Apparently when the snow melts the collar sends the game to higher elevations using the direct route to avoid traffic jams too.
Idaho Fish & Game Regional Wildlife Biologist Shane Roberts is especially in tune with big game movements because the first project he has slated for this winter is to capture and put GPS collars on 30 moose and 30 elk as part of a joint project between the Wildlife Conservation Society, Idaho Transportation Department and Fish and Game.
In addition to using helicopters to trap moose and elk, Fish and Game will also be trapping mule deer later this winter as part of an ongoing study to monitor winter survival.
Along with trapping, hired helicopters are also used to conduct aerial surveys of various deer and elk populations. All of this work requires low-level flying that can be dangerous. Over the past decade, aerial surveys have resulted in minor and serious injuries to Fish and Game personnel and the deaths of three biologists and two hired pilots.
All Fish and Game employees who fly must attend training conducted by Idaho Division of Aeronautics and follow strict flight protocols. Pilots and aircraft hired by Fish and Game must follow precise training and maintenance certification guidelines specified by the U. S. Department of Interior.
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