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Wyoming Range Habitat Declining

mule deer

The prospect of land being leased for oil and gas drilling in the Wyoming Range is not the only thing that is threatening that wildlife-rich area.  Wyoming Game and Fish biologists say the forage in that area is on the decline.  Typically, the area is home to one of the most prominent mule deer herds in North America.  However, the habitat for the mule deer has been in decline over the past several years due to drought and aging shrubs upon which the deer rely – especially in the winter.  Terrestrial Habitat Coordinator Jill Randall says the habitat is evaluated every spring to determine if the range can handle the number of deer occupying it, or if some management activities need to be adjusted in dealing with the wintering herd.  Randall says there have been some pretty tough winter conditions in this area, and the winter ranges have not been able to sustain the number of deer that have been normally seen there.  Randall adds, “They are also not able to sustain the number of deer our sportsmen are looking to see out there when they are hunting and recreating.”  Randall says the previous winter has been pretty light and there was some good springtime moisture to help growth of the forage in the area.  Still, information collected over the past decade indicates some sort of habitat treatment is needed in the Wyoming Range.

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