Mule deer count shows herd thinned considerably

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – South Jackson wildlife biologist Gary Fralick found what he thought he would when he went counting mule deer for the annual post-hunt survey conducted by Wyoming Game and Fish. Numbers were very low.

The northern Wyoming Range herd took a hit after last year’s hard winter. The number of fawns was as low as it has been since 1993, at approximately 50 per 100 does. Fawns are typically the age class that is hit the hardest during a tough winter.

Similarly, the buck ratios were down as well at 29 per 100 does. A similar low as in 1993-94 and 2004 (see graphs). Wildlife managers are likely to again propose very conservative hunting seasons, but what the herd really needs to bounce back is consecutive years of mild winters and high fawn survival.

The Game and Fish will be holding public meetings in local communities in January to update the public with the latest numbers, habitat conditions and research being con-ducted. Look for further announcements with the details on when and where these meetings will take place.

Wyoming Range mule deer herd. (WGFD)
Wyoming Range mule deer herd bucks. (WGFD)

Sublette deer herd count

Pinedale wildlife biologist Dean Clause, along with area game wardens, recently completed the annual post-hunt season deer survey for the Sublette mule deer herd. As expected, the number of fawns was as low as it has been in many years at approximately 49 fawns per 100 does.

The buck ratios were a little more encouraging decent at 34 bucks per 100 does. Managers do not attempt to make a population estimate based on the total number of deer counted during the survey, as it is just a sizeable sample, but the number of deer seen does tend to give a picture of the population trend.

This year a total of 6,531 deer were counted in the Sublette Herd, which was a 39% decline from the sample of 10,640 counted in 2016. This gives an idea of the number of deer that were lost in last year’s hard winter.

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