Critical Deer and Elk Research Continues in Southwest Wyoming

Critical Deer and Elk Research Continues in Southwest Wyoming

GREEN RIVER—The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the University of Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit will be continuing an ongoing research project on mule deer and elk.

Researchers hope to learn more about what influences populations in the region by monitoring animal survival rates, evaluating recruitment of fawns and calves into the population, determining specific causes of mortality and documenting the interactions between deer and elk.

Wildlife managers highlight the importance of gathering this information during a severe winter so that they might learn better ways to manage big game herds. The next step in the project is capturing mule deer and elk in the Green River region in March and April.

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“Keeping this project going this winter provides us with critical data that would be unavailable otherwise. This will allow us to learn more about specific effects of severe winters on body condition and reproductive success,” said Mark Zornes Green River Wildlife Management Coordinator.

Game and Fish and UW researchers evaluated research conducted in other locations, to see if there was evidence that short-duration handling of animals increased mortality rates and that research has not shown an increase in mortality.

“We considered canceling captures, but we are very concerned that leaving an information gap in the study, particularly during a tough winter, will seriously degrade the outcomes of this important research project,” said Zornes. “And while we have concerns with the overall impact this winter will have on all wildlife, continuing the research project will provide us with a unique understanding of the specific effects these infrequent severe winters can have on a population. Overall the research should improve management and result in long-term benefits to these herds.”

Game and Fish is always committed to ensuring efficient handling of wildlife occurs during research projects. The project includes the Wyoming Range, Sublette and South Rock Springs deer and elk herds.