People might see some low-flying helicopters at certain outdoor locations across the state during the winter months as staff from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game conduct deer and elk surveys.

The surveys will be conducted between January and March and is estimated to take about one to four weeks in each management area, according to a news release by the department. Each flight will cover a portion of the hunt unit being surveyed and will take three to eight hours to complete, but staff will try not to disturb the animals more than is needed to conduct the survey.

“While we understand that some hunts will be in progress, we will do our best to temporarily avoid areas where we observe people,” said Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Bret Stansberry of Salmon.

The department also will capture and collar hundreds of mule deer and elk in hunt units throughout the state, which, as they the animals are monitored, will help biologists to get a better idea of herd survival throughout winter and early spring.

This information, together with the flight survey data, will be used to determine the overall health of Idaho’s mule deer and elk herds, which plays a critical role in determining future big game hunting seasons.