Elk calves to be outfitted with radio-transmitters
Last updated 5/12/2021 at 5:19pm
DAYTON -- State biologists plan to begin capturing Blue Mountains elk calves next week to help determine why the herd is in decline.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife hopes to capture 125 calves between Dayton and Asotin creeks, outfit them with radio-transmitter collars and then release them.
"When a radio collar puts out a mortality signal, it'll serve as a trigger for our biologists to quickly get out and determine the cause," agency Game Division Manager Anis Aoude said.
The Blue Mountains herd declined below the 5,500 elk following winter 2017, officials said. The herd remained in decline through 2019, trended upward in 2020, but is declining again this year.
The agency reduced elk hunting in the region in 2017 and it hopes radio-transmitters will help biologists determine the cause of the herd's decline, officials said.
State officials are already using radio-transmitters on other elk herds around the state.
On the North Olympic Peninsula, elk outfitted with transmitting collars trigger warning signs when the herd nears U.S. Highway 101.
The agency also assists elk herds near Naches, Cle Elum and elsewhere by providing feeding stations that operate through the winter.