HomeOutdoorsNewsWildlife Officials Encourage Idaho Residents to ‘Winterize’ Yards

Wildlife Officials Encourage Idaho Residents to ‘Winterize’ Yards

by Sean Griffin
(Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Idaho Fish & Game Department is reminding all local residents to ‘winterize’ their yards, and it’s probably a good reminder for all of us out there, especially those who live near an abundance of wildlife.

The department warns that wildlife can easily become entangled in backyard objects, causing injury and sometimes death. They report that animals can die from “choking, exhaustion, or [by injuring] themselves in efforts to get free.” They also stress that entangled wildlife can easily injure people trying to free them from outdoor equipment.

“They’re encouraging Idahoans to inspect their yards and to take down items like swings, hammocks, wires, and strings of lights and put them away in the garage or other secure storage area.,” the KTVB7 news anchor says in the video below.

Each year, the department responds to numerous reports across the state of wildlife becoming entangled in various items.

Recently, a bull elk died in the Wood River Valley after becoming entangled with a backyard item. It was ultimately strangled by the hanging item.

Brandyn Hurd, Senior Conservation Officer in the Wood River Valley, talked about the agency’s desires for Idahoans this winter.

“We want everyone who might have deer, elk or moose living near their neighborhoods to take a walk through their yards and look for things that can entangle wildlife,” he said.

Idaho Fish & Game Offers Tips for People to Keep Safe During Winter

Hurd continues, elaborating on the risk entanglement can cause for the wildlife and humans involved.

“All backyard furniture and playground equipment needs to be removed and secured during the winter months. Wildlife can easily get entangled in this equipment which puts the animal at risk, but it also puts our Fish and Game team at risk when using drugs to anesthetize the animal and working to free them from backyard equipment.”

Idaho Fish & Game offers extra tips to keep people, their pets, and all wildlife safe during the winter months.

The agency stresses not to feed wildlife. They said that even though it may seem fun or inconsequential, it causes detrimental effects for the animals. These deer or elk will often congregate in very high numbers in small areas when they’ve been fed. This increases chances of diseases spreading quickly.

They go on to say that feeding these animals brings a higher risk of deadlier encounters with animals like bears or mountain lions. According to Idaho Fish & Game, “residents in the Wood River Valley have already reported lions killing deer in their backyards.”

They also remind pet owners to keep all pets on a leash. Moreover, they reminded skiers and snowmobilers to avoid all animals when participating in outdoors recreation.  They also remind basement owners to close up all basement windows or doors.