CPW to use low-flying helicopters to assess deer and bighorn sheep on plains

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Beginning Dec. 12, Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists will assess deer and bighorn sheep populations on the southeastern plains of Colorado, east of Interstate 25, by conducting low-altitude helicopter flights.

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 and bighorn sheep.

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 used to form population models, management strategies and to set future hunting license numbers.

Disturbances by the flights typically only last a few minutes in any one area.

The flight plan calls for helicopters to start flying in Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties. That will be followed by tours of Kiowa, Prowers and Baca counties.

From there, the helicopters will sweep up the Arkansas River from the Kansas state line to Colorado Highway 71 then fly southwest along the Purgatoire River. The biologists will also survey the South Republican River drainage from Flagler to the Kansas state line.

If the weather permits, CPW biologists hope to conclude their herd assessment flights by early January.

For more information on CPW’s wildlife population objectives, visit cpw.state.co.us/ThingsToDo/pages/HerdManagementPlans.aspx

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