HAILEY, Idaho (KLIX) – Deep snow and cold temperatures have caused difficulties for deer and elk herds from Carey to Ketchum, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

As such, the agency and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is teaming to help the animals by reminding travelers to avoid certain areas.

“The Quigley drainage east of Hailey is really important for these animals this winter,” Shoshone BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner John Kurtz said in a statement released Monday.

“We encourage people to avoid the trails and south facing slopes in that drainage. Forcing animals to move during a winter like this one is the last thing they need.”

Other trails are west of Hailey, including the Croy Creek trail system.

Signs will be posted at several informal trailheads east of Highway 75 from Ohio Gulch to Bellevue with the following information:

  • Please recreate elsewhere when deer or elk are present. Minimize impacts by turning around when wildlife are sighted and keep dogs on leash.
  • It is critical that wildlife are not disturbed; they are struggling to survive through the winter and early spring.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation to avoid these areas for the time being,” said IDFG Regional Manager Toby Boudreau. “While we have set up several feeding operations at different locations within Blaine County, it is evident that the herds are stressed and still facing a long winter.”

Getty Images

When Encountering Wildlife

“Drive slowly, especially at night,” according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “Elk and deer are congregating in lowlands, often along roadways. Be on the lookout and give them space.”

Other tips from Fish and Game include:

  • Don’t ski, trek or ride a snowmobile on any hillside that has animal tracks or visible wildlife. Your presence will increase stress on wildlife.
  • Keep your dogs on a leash.
  • Please don’t feed wildlife, you could make them sick or even kill them. You can also inadvertently bait them away from traditional feeding sites and cause problems for neighbors.
  • If your home is located in or near big game winter range, deer and elk will often eat ornamental shrubs. The plants will grow back.
  • Mountain lions follow prey and if you have prey (deer and elk) in your neighborhood, you may have predators nearby too. Please be aware.