The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) began conducting aerial surveys of mule deer herds in the Methow Valley last Sunday (Dec. 2) and expects to continue the work for about two weeks.
WDFW is using helicopters to survey mule deer this winter to evaluate the size and condition of herds in Methow Valley in Okanogan County, and in Chelan and Douglas counties.
The survey flights began Dec. 2 in the Methow Valley and Dec. 3 in the other regions. The surveys are designed to evaluate the area deer population, including fawn recruitment (the number of fawns per doe that survive to six months of age), and the number of bucks remaining after the 2018 hunting season. State wildlife managers use the information collected to manage area herds and set hunting seasons.
Mule deer are broadly distributed in Washington state from the crest of the Cascade Mountains east to the Idaho border, providing hunting and viewing opportunities for thousands of people each year. Okanogan County is home to the state’s largest deer herd.