I am an Idaho resident. For a number of years I have been on the mountain I hunt and watched the Fish and Game plane scatter the herds. What is the purpose of this tactic?
Every year we get these comments and we have difficulty determining what is being described. The Department of Fish and Game does not own any aircraft. We contract out to pilots to conduct our telemetry surveys. We have radio collared animals all across the state and usually pilots will conduct a flight a month for these animals. When flying they sometimes will circle to get an accurate location, but usually they are high enough they just fly over and get a GPS location without circling. We always ask them to be aware of hunters and hunting season and try not to disturb the animals they are locating. Usually they do not.
However, there are many privately owned aircraft and private pilots that fly all the time trying to locate game animals to hunt or observe. There are many small aircraft in the air all the time taking off and landing at backcountry airstrips. We know many of these pilots love to buzz herds of animals on the hills. The only way for us to track an aircraft is for someone such as yourself with a complaint to contact us with the tail number of the aircraft, the location and time of the incident. We can then contact the pilot if a violation or complaint has occurred. If by chance it is one of our contracted pilots, we can always discuss the matter with them.
The Department of Fish and Game by policy does not tell anyone to try to scatter game animals on purpose for any reason with fixed wing during or before hunting season. We do count game animals during the winter months with helicopters, and this will cause the animals to move. Some of the late hunts in December and January may occasionally be disturbed by our big game counting, but this never occurs during the fall, and we always try to avoid disturbing hunters if possible. I hope that helps answer your question.