Idaho spending $650,000 to feed elk, deer and antelope

Can’t the wildlife feed itself? Whatever happened to survival of the fittest? 

Idaho is spending about $650,000 this winter to feed elk, deer and antelope at 110 sites around the southern half of the state.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game on Wednesday said the severe winter prompted officials to declare four feeding emergencies in four regions to start the feeding of about 10,000 elk, 10,000 deer and 100 antelope.

“We know we are in a very significant winter,” said Jon Rachael, state wildlife game manager.

Officials said about 7 percent of the state’s elk population and 2 percent of Idaho’s deer are being fed. The agency didn’t report any feeding sites in the northern half of the state.

“Although it’s an exceptional winter in the southern tier, it’s closer to an average winter north of the Salmon River,” said Ed Schriever, Fish and Game’s deputy director of operations.

Money to pay for the feeding comes from fees paid by elk, deer and antelope hunters, the agency said. This year is turning out to be the most expensive feeding year since 2008.