Researchers release a doe mule deer after it is fitted with a new GPS collar and biological data is collected near LaBarge recently. Photo provided by WG&F.

(Jackson, Wyo.) – After several rounds of public meetings in several western Wyoming communities, a management plan for the Wyoming Range mule deer herd was completed in 2010. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will again be visiting those local communities to discuss current research and progress on the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Initiative (WRMDI) that was created. One of the main thrusts of the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Initiative is to maintain an ongoing dialogue with those interested in the Wyoming Range deer herd.

At the meetings, Dr. Kevin Monteith, a research scientist with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, will be on hand to discuss a new mule deer research project being conducted with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the Wyoming Range deer herd. In March 2013, researchers conducted their initial capture of 70 doe mule deer to fit them with GPS collars and evaluate their overall body condition. Ultrasonography was performed on each animal to determine percent body fat and pregnancy. Animals are being monitored each autumn to determine fawn production and survival, and subsequently recaptured each spring and fall to evaluate change in body condition between seasons. Productivity of individual animals, combined with their body condition and forage production data, will be used to determine the habitat’s “nutritional carrying capacity”. Ultimately, this information will allow wildlife managers to assess whether the Wyoming Range deer herd is reaching its reproductive capacity based on current available habitat. This research addresses primary components outlined in the WY Range Mule Deer Initiative.

In addition, local Game and Fish personnel responsible for management of the Wyoming Range mule deer herd will be recapping the 2013 hunting seasons, sharing preliminary aerial survey data collected for the northern portion of the herd as well as future habitat improvement projects that are planned.

The community meetings will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. at the following locations:

January 6: Afton Civic Center

January 7: Marbleton Town Hall

The WRMDI was approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission in 2010. The plan was designed to be a working document that could be amended if priorities should change or new opportunities arise to benefit the mule deer herd.

The public involvement process to develop the WRMDI involved several rounds of meetings that were well received by the public. The resulting Wyoming Range Mule Deer Management Plan was the first herd-specific plan developed under the auspices of the Wyoming Mule Deer Initiative. A second has since been completed for the Platte Valley herd in the southeastern part of the state.

The Wyoming Mule Deer Initiative is a statewide framework designed to address declining mule deer populations, particularly over the last two decades. These declines are not unique to Wyoming, but have been seen throughout the West.

To learn more about the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Initiative and the ongoing work, visit the Game and Fish website and click on the “Wyoming Range Public Input Process” link under “Wildlife & Habitat” and then “Mule Deer Initiative,” or click on the following link: http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/wildlife-1000398.aspx.

Once there, one can view the slideshows with background information presented at the earlier rounds of meetings, as well as the results of a hunter attitude survey that was completed. Also provided is the complete set of public feedback provided at each of the public meetings. If you have any questions feel free to contact your local Game and Fish regional office.

The State of Wyoming supports the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Anyone requiring auxiliary aids, regarding this Public Notice, should contact the Jackson Game and Fish Office at 307-733-2321. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.

–Wyoming Game & Fish Department

Dr. Kevin Monteith, measures the rump fat on a captured doe mule deer before releasing it back to it's winter range near LaBarge recently. (Photo provided by WG&F)

Dr. Kevin Monteith, measures the rump fat on a captured doe mule deer before releasing it back to it’s winter range near LaBarge recently. (Photo provided by WG&F)