Volunteers Needed for Mule Deer Surveys
Local surveys to be held May 6-7
by Wyoming Game & Fish
April 24, 2006
(Pinedale) Wildlife managers with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department are inviting members of the public to join them for the 13th annual mule deer mortality surveys coming up on the weekend of May 6th & 7th. This is an opportunity for people to join local wildlife biologists and game wardens in searching important mule deer winter ranges to get a picture of how many deer have died over the winter.
"Assessing the impacts of winter on a wildlife population is never an exact science," says Pinedale Wildlife Biologist, Dean Clause. "But the winter mortality surveys are an important part of the puzzle, and consequently, an important part of managing the herds." The look at winter mortality provides an indication of overall loss, what age classes got hit the hardest and some insight as to what hunters can expect during the fall hunting seasons.
Each year biologists collect data on the number of fawns compared to the number of does in a population, both before and after winter, to get an indication of winter impacts. "If we have a significant die-off in a population we will typically see the loss in the number of fawns and our data this year indicate there was an above average die off in a portion of the Sublette Herd Unit," says Clause. "That data is one indicator, but it's still important to get out and have a look at things on the ground and we just wouldn't be able to do that effectively without the volunteer help we've gotten from folks over the years, so we really appreciate that."
Wildlife managers also emphasize this is a good opportunity to look at habitat conditions on the animal's winter range. "We just can't stress enough the importance of winter habitat for our big game herds, especially mule deer," says Clause. "We've experienced several years of drought that have left our winter ranges in really tough shape. We did get some key rains the last two years that helped, but things still haven't recovered to the point we'd like to see. It will be good to see what condition the shrubs are in after the winter."
There will be two opportunities for people to hit the field with the Game and Fish on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Saturday, May 6:
Meet at the Pinedale Game and Fish office at 9:00 AM (or)
Meet at the gravel site 3 miles southwest of Sage Jct. on Hwy 30 at 9:00AM
Sunday, May 7:
Meet at the Big Piney High School at 9:30 AM
For more information you may contact:
Pinedale Wildlife Biologist, Dean Clause, at 307-367-4353 or 1-800-367-4532
Thayne Wildlife Biologist, Gary Fralick, at 307-883-2998
Kemmerer Game Warden, Jim Olson at 307-679-5696
Cokeville Game Warden, Neil Hymas at 307-279-3466