Wyoming Game and Fish looking at several ideas to improve mule deer management
Wyoming Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik says the department is looking at several ideas to improve mule deer management to see if it can help reverse the trend of a lowering deer population.
He says the Game and Fish Commission has been very gracious with funding for habitat related projects.
“This year…just a couple of weeks ago approved an increase of over $2 million to look at new ways to monitor mule deer,” Nesvik said. “And have better, more accurate scientific information that will help our field folks understand the trends.”
He says the department is also looking at other things like how you manage other species on the landscape. He cites one example of the Deer Project south of Rock Springs and Green River which found that there’s competition between elk and mule deer.
“We certainly had science like that before, we expected it,” Nesvik said. “But one of the things we’re going to look at is places we can manage elk in a different way to have a beneficial effect for mule deer.”
He says this also includes black bears and mountain lions. He says while it may not be a “silver bullet” in every place, but managing those species and potentially sharing less of mule deer with those animals could have a positive benefit.
He says another aspect is how to manage the license structures. The Game and Fish director said the department continues to look at distributing licenses fairly and equitably even as it sees demand increase. One topic of debate is simply to limit a quota state wide. Another is region licenses meaning a sportsman would have to pick a specific region and that is the only place they could hunt.
“Discussions are happening now, they’ve happened for a lot of years,” Nesvik said. “This has been a debate for about as long as I can remember.”
He says Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce is doing a deep dive and will continue to take public comment on it.