DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Parks & Wildlife is wrapping up its annual big game animal survey for 2020 and its biologists captured some incredible video in the process.
“These are classification flights that we do every year,” explained Tyrel Woodward, a biologist with Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
The flyover surveys focus on certain species; mainly deer, elk and some big horned sheep populations.
During their mission, biologists are looking to determine population management numbers.
“Annually, we do try and conduct them about this time of year. Typically starting around the second week of December in the southeast region of the state and then they conclude sometime right after Christmas, is typically the timing we shoot for,” Woodward said.
The surveys usually coincide with the completion of most of the state’s hunting season.
“We try and get those surveys completed during the winter months so we can look at our recruitment numbers, as far as the number of young that made it into the winter through the fall and summer seasons,” Woodward added.
The numbers calculated by Colorado Parks & Wildlife are used in their population models which help biologists make estimates on the number of animals they have in their herds and how many of those animals are young versus how many are mature.
“And those are really important in looking at the overall health of the populations. Each of those numbers can be used as an indicator to speak to the health of those herds,” Woodward said.
While the flyover surveys are just wrapping up, in general, Colorado Parks & Wildlife said the animals were where they expected to find them.
“So far, we’re still tabulating the numbers form our data collected. The flights I participated in represent just a small number of the flights we’re doing statewide, so it’s hard for me to make any big extrapolations to the population statewide,” Woodward said.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife is hoping to hoping to have more results from its survey available in early 2021.