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Natural Resources & Energy

Wyoming Mule Deer Herds To Benefit From Increased Funding

By USFWS Mountain-Prairie (Mule Deer on Winter Range in SW Wyoming) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The last of five installments of funding totaling almost $2.5 million was approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission recently. The $560,000 has been distributed over the past five years to support the Statewide Mule Deer Initiative.

"Mule deer have seen a decline in total numbers throughout the West, certainly Wyoming's no exception. And so the commission wanted to take a proactive approach and stance on mule deer management and so the Mule Deer Initiative was formed out of that proactive approach to doing something meaningful for mule deer in Wyoming," Ian Tator, the Game and Fish statewide terrestrial biologist, said.

A majority of the funding will be used to support habitat improvement efforts around the state, like fighting cheatgrass spread to support native plant productivity and reducing the encroachment of conifers into aspen stands, which provide coverage and forage for mule deer.

The rest of the funding will be used in a variety of projects ranging from research on Chronic Wasting Disease to improving fencing in wildlife corridors and researching mule deer movement patterns.

In conjunction with partners around the state, many of the projects receiving funding are already in progress but new work will begin in early summer.

The Commission has preliminarily indicated interest in supporting another five years of work.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Ivy Engel, at iengel@uwyo.edu.

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