A group of 150 elk moved out of Teton Canyon earlier this week and headed west towards Highway 20 near Sugar City, again causing concern for passing motorists. They were preceded by a similar group of elk which moved out of the canyon in late-January and crossed Highway 20 with the assistance of Fish and Game, Idaho State Police (ISP), the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and local landowners.
At 11 a.m. on Friday Feb. 7 ISP and ITD closed Highway 20 and diverted traffic for about 20 minutes as Fish and Game staff gently encouraged this second group of elk to the west side of the highway where they desired to be.
Both groups of elk are part of a larger herd that historically spends the winter in the Teton Canyon area. “Recent snowfall and reports of recreational snowmobiling in the area potentially contributed to the elk moving out of the canyon,” says Curtis Hendricks Wildlife Manager. “Fortunately we have a bunch of elk in this herd with GPS collars so we can continue to monitor their movements.”
Fish and Game wishes to extend their appreciation to all parties involved in moving these elk safely across the highway: ISP, ITD, Madison County Sheriffs’ department, Fremont County Sheriffs’ department, and local landowners all played a critical role.
This was a group effort with lots of moving parts and pieces,” explains James Brower Communications Manager for Fish and Game. “It was a real pleasure to see everyone work together and make this happen smoothly.”
Fish and Game also requests that the public keep their distance from the elk and not disturb them. Unintentional disturbance may cause the animals to run into traffic and cause an accident or injury.
Motorists should continue to use caution in the area and keep an eye out for wildlife crossing the roads.