CHEYENNE – A crucial mule deer migration corridor in north-western Wyoming has been formally designated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The path of one of the three winter range units designated in the Sublette mule deer herd unit is 160 miles long and spans over 830,000 acres, from the Hoback River near Jackson to around the town of Pinedale, continuing south to the Red Desert outside Rock Springs.
This designation means Game and Fish will now do an assessment of the corridor and develop proactive management actions to conserve and enhance areas within the corridor. This will be done in consultation with stakeholders. Going forward when commenting on federal surface projects, Game and Fish will recommend measures to conserve the corridor based on the best available science.
Based on mule deer GPS collar data collected in collaboration with the University of Wyoming-Wyoming Migration Initiative, the study collected an unprecedented volume of data on mule deer migration.
“With the advancements in GPS technology, the Sublette mule deer project collected more data than ever before on migration,” said Scott Smith, deputy director of external operations for Game and Fish. “With such a robust and high-quality data set, researchers were able to determine the length and width of migration corridors throughout the Sublette Herd.”
The Sublette Corridor is the first ungulate migration corridor designated under the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved Migration Corridor Strategy, action two of the four-step strategy. The corridor also includes the newly-designated Luke Lynch Habitat Management Area, an area identified as a migration bottleneck.
“Our strategy works to maintain permeability of the corridor so mule deer can annually move between winter and summer ranges. Habitat management areas, like the Luke Lynch WHMA, help ensure that,” said Smith.
On top of the risk assessment, next steps for managing the Sublette corridor will include further GPS data analysis and other strategic assessments. These steps are detailed in the Commission Migration Corridor Strategy.
On Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. Game and Fish is hosting a public meeting at the Cheyenne Headquarters Office to share more information on the corridor and the data used for designation. The public and partners are invited to attend. The State of Wyoming supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Anyone needing auxiliary aids should contact the Game and Fish at (307) 777-4501. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.