Hunters, anglers and folks who love wildlife should be concerned about what the devastating effects of the Pony, Elk and Beaver Creek complex fires in South-Central Idaho will be for deer and elk and other wildlife .
There’s going to be a lot of losses to wildlife and wildlife habitat from Blacks Creek Road all the way along the South Fork of the Boise River drainage and along Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
What I’m hearing from those on the ground is that there are dead elk, deer, bears and grouse in fire areas. Ranchers have lost cattle, too. Another concern is the destruction of big game winter range. That’s the low-elevation areas where big game go in the winter to find food that is not covered by snow.
We’re going to see deer, elk and antelope migrating from the mountains north of I-84 from Boise Mountain Home and Bliss to the sage and flat lands along the interstate looking for food. Big game are going to be hit on highways, too.
I’ve got inquiries to Idaho Fish and Game on what people can to to help.
Hunters who are not going to hunt because their hunting area has been burned should still buy a license and tags so that funding continues for wildlife habitat. Those who don’t hunt should buy hunting licenses. If you can’t qualify to buy a hunting license because of the hunter education rule, buy a fishing license. The South Fork of the Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir will probably need some rehab. I hear the side hills are nuked and that there will be a danger of blowouts and rock slides into the river.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game needs to set up a Fire Big Game Rehabilitation Fund where regular folks, who don’t hunt, can contribute to rehabilitating winter range. We’re going to need it.
These massive wildfires are going to be devastating to wildlife. It’s going to be shocking when it’s all over.