While Idaho’s deer and elk harvests in 2018 were similar to 2017, elk were above the 10 year average and mule deer fell short.
The amount of mule deer was slightly lower than the 10 year average by 3.5%, but was not too bad considering the terrible winter of 2016-2017, where 100% of fawns were lost in some areas including some of the adult population which hurt hunting the following year.
A milder winter in 2017-2018 allowed for a slight improvement, but still yielded a lower harvest as expected.
On the other hand, elk population is booming! More than 20,000 elk have been harvested each year for the past 5 years which is one of the best stretches Fish and Game has seen.
Jennifer Jackson, Regional Communications Manager at Idaho Fish and Game said, "Elk just endure winter conditions better than mule deer, they're just a different critter. They're built different, they're a little stronger, the way they digest their food and the amount of nutrition they can get from their food is just a little bit more efficient."
Fish and Game has already suggested its proposals for big game hunting this fall and now the commission will consider public comments before final decisions are made.
Final rules should come out by the end of April.