G&F seeks public input with Mule Deer Initiative
by Wyoming Game & Fish
April 1, 2007
Although mule deer are Wyoming's second largest big game population, the popular target of hunters across the continent are facing many pressures in the Cowboy State. That's why the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has launched the Wyoming Mule Deer Initiative.
The Initiative is a long-term strategy to stabilize, and where possible, increase mule deer populations in the face of changing habitat and other pressures across the state. The initiative was approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission March 16 and will be presented to the public April 25-26. The Game and Fish will host video-conferences in April on the Initiative. The videoconferences start at 7 p.m. at Game and Fish offices at these locations:
"Many Wyomingites and deer hunters from across the country remember the glory years from the 1950s to the 1960s when mule deer were most plentiful," said Daryl Lutz, leader of the Game and Fish's Mule Deer Working Group that crafted the Initiative.
He says even though habitats may look the same, shrub habitats important to mule deer just aren't as productive as they were in earlier decades. "As it is with almost all species, habitat is the fundamental issue we must address in a grand way to improve conditions for mule deer," Lutz said.
In addition, the Initiative addresses other equally important factors including harvest and hunter management, predation, diseases and parasites, poaching, weather, elk/deer interactions, public involvement, research and funding.
The Initiative can be reviewed on the Game and Fish web site at http://gf.state.wy.us starting on April 2, 2007.
"Mule deer are an icon of the West and we really want hunters' and other interested publics' involvement to help keep it that way," Lutz said.
He adds one of the Mule Deer Initiative's goals is to generate public support through involvement in Wyoming's mule deer management programs. In addition to attending a video conference, the public is invited to comment by writing: Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Attn: Draft Mule Deer Management Plan, 5400 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, Wyoming 82006. Comments will be taken through May 16, 2007.
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