TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it will continue elk depredation efforts in the Little Camas area through 2020 to help reduce damage to crops. The agency announced in a press release it has seen an increase in damage to crops since 2017 by elk and began to work with farmers to find ways to stop or reduce the damage done to crops.

Idaho Fish and Game says efforts have helped reduce the amount of money paid to land owners because of damaged crops. In one particular case in the Little Camas area, Fish and Game says a farmer was paid more than $1 million for damages caused by an elk herd of more than 450 animals. Through depredation efforts, including prevention, hazing, and sharpshooting, the damages dropped 75 percent, or a little more than $750,000.

Fish and Game says non-lethal methods are used first to help prevent crop damage by using fencing or hazing, but if it doesn't work the agency will use lethal means to prevent the animals from causing damage. The preferred method is to allow hunters to kill the animals and reduce their numbers, however sometimes it isn't possible for various reasons.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Fish and Game says it will continue to work with the land owner in the Little Camas area by placing radio collars on select elk to follow their movement and behavior. It will then determine weather four methods of control for the animals to prevent the crop damage. One, use non-lethal hazing by use of noise or rubber buckshot. Two, staff will hunt the animals at night when the animals often feed. Three, secure access to surrounding private land for citizens to hunt the animals during the day. Four, trap the animals later in the fall of 2020 and early 2021 and relocate some animals to other areas.

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