In the last thirty years, mule deer populations have declined so much, according to Game and Fish, that it is now "worrisome to wildlife managers and the public."

Through their research, biologists at the department attribute weather, habitat and chronic wasting disease as possible factors in the declining mule deer populations.

To better understand the herd health, the Game and Fish undertakes a five year Mule Deer Monitoring Project.

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For this project they plan to scale up from monitoring one herd to eight. They believe that the key to management is knowing how many individuals are in a herd.

Wildlife managers will narrow in on five Wyoming herds located around the Laramie Mountains, North Bighorn, Sweetwater, Upper Shoshone and Wyoming Range.

The monitoring project seeks to collect data on the "composition of of the focal herds," meaning the number of males, females and juveniles in each group. "This will be done through aerial counts, trail cameras and ground surveys" said the news release.

They plan to collar 1,000 mule deer in total to better study the day-to-day patterns of the deer: where they go, where they stay, what habitat they use and where they avoid.

This data will be processed and obtainable through a partnership with the University of Wyoming. Researchers from the university will take the data, analyze it, and return it to the department.

"Game and Fish and partners will hit the ground running in late November. The first task will be deploying collars and then beginning intensive surveys. The data will start rolling into biologists’ email inboxes soon after."

Game and Fish plans to update the public on what they are learning ~ every four months.

Stay tuned for more information on the mule deer!

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