COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) biologists will use low-flying helicopters to assess deer and bighorn sheep populations in southeastern Colorado, east of Interstate 25, beginning Dec. 15.
Biologists will begin in the South Republican River drainage from Flagler to the Kansas state line. They will then head to Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties before conducting tours of Kiowa, Prowers and Baca counties, the agency said.
“The helicopters will spend a brief amount of time in a specific area to count and categorize individual herds and then move on, searching for more deer, elk or bighorn sheep,” said Julie Stiver, senior wildlife biologist for CPW’s Southeast Region in a statement. “Each year, CPW biologists inventory thousands of animals statewide to develop a picture of the productivity and composition of big game in Colorado. The data is critical to our work of forming population models, management strategies and to set future hunting license numbers.”
CPW said it will also conduct surveys and capture work during similar flights west of I-25 in South Park, the Arkansas Valley, the Pikes Peak Region, the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Wet Mountain Valley and over Fishers Peak State Park in Trinidad. Biologists will focus on deer, elk and bighorn sheep.
According to CPW, 60 mule deer fawns, 65 cow elk and 60 calf elk will be fitted with radio-collars during the flights in southwestern Colorado.
The agency said disturbances by the flights typically only last a few minutes. Biologists hope to conclude the flights by late January.