CPW Using Helicopters to Inventory Wildlife


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is taking to the skies in search of big game animals. Over the next two months CPW employees in the southeast region will fly across large portions of wildlife habitat in search of animals to classify by sex and age, while others will gather biological data on the ground. Late season hunters and outdoor recreationists are advised that they may see low-flying helicopters or airplanes and are urged to be patient while critical monitoring is conducted.

In the southeast region of Colorado, flights are conducted to the west of I-25 between Monument hill to the New Mexico Border and along the Arkansas River between the Kansas state line and Pueblo. CPW will also be capturing deer using helicopters north and east of the Arkansas River between Canon City and Leadville.

“These flights require quick maneuvering at low levels and expert piloting,” said Southeast Region Senior Terrestrial Biologist Brian Dreher. “If you were watching from the ground it would definitely generate some curiosity.”

Biologists will inventory thousands of animals to help provide a picture of the productivity and composition of big game in Colorado. This data will be used to form population models, management strategies and to set future hunting license numbers.

Disturbances by the flights will be short lived as the flights are conducted across a broad geographical area and typically only last a few minutes in any one area.

“The flights can cause a short-term inconvenience, but they provide long-term benefits like healthy wildlife populations and productive hunts in the future,” said Dreher. “It’s vital that we keep track of how our big game populations are doing across the state so we can effectively conserve them.”

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