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Mule Deer Migration Route Passes Through A Variety Of Agency Lands

A mule deer migration route between the Red Desert and Hoback may present unique challenges to agencies and landowners.

The route is used twice a year by up to 5-thousand migrating deer. Hall Sawyer, a research biologist with Western Ecosystem Technologies says the discovery is a big one.

Sawyer explained, “One of the unique things about this migration is that it occurs exclusively outside of protected areas, no national parks or wilderness, and that’s pretty unique, because I don’t think there’s many places in North America where animals could move across 150 miles of unprotected areas and still have a migration route like that still intact.”

But that route may be a problem. The deer cross fences, highways, and reservoirs on lands owned privately and by the BLM, Game and Fish, Forest Service, and the state of Wyoming; all of which will need to collaborate to keep the multi-use route free of major barriers.

Researchers hope to continue providing information to wildlife and land managers working to protect the migration path.

Chelsea Biondolillo is originally from Portland, Oregon and comes to Laramie by way of several southern cities, including New Orleans, Austin, and Phoenix. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Wyoming in creative nonfiction and environmental studies and her prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction, Phoebe, DIAGRAM, Birding, and others. Chelsea loves plants, birds, and rocks, and tries to spend as much time as she can around them.
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