Mule deer study to begin in Wyoming

Scientists with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department know a a lot about mule deer and what things affect their success in the wild. Weather, habitat and chronic wasting disease all affect the Cowboy State’s mule deer populations. In the last 30 years, mule deer populations have declined to a point that makes wildlife managers worried.

Biologists at Game and Fish believe new tools and technologies could offer more data to inform the management and prosperity of mule deer.  So they are beginning the 5-year Mule Deer Monitoring Project.


The project will collect and quickly interpret data on deer popultations. The 5-year project looks at six areas considered critical for mule deer management: abundance, composition, data management, survival, herd health and harvest management.

A main component of the monitoring project is to learn how many deer there  actually are in a herd? To do this, they will increase surveys of heads eightfold.


Wildlife managers will look in on five local herds, some of which have never been intensely studied. Those herds are the Laramie Mountains, North Bighorn, Sweetwater, Upper Shoshone and Wyoming Range. This will be done through aerial counting, trail cameras and ground surveys.

Data in the project will come from 1,000 collared mule deer.It will be key to learning about the day-to-day lives of these animals. Game and Fish will be able to see the herd’s movements and help measure herd performance, causes of mortality, evaluate harvest strategies,  and update seasonal range maps.

The processing of the data will be done through a partnership with the University of Wyoming. R

Game and Fish and partners will start the project in November and throughout the year, Game and Fish plans to update the public on what they are learning.