CHEYENNE, Wyo. (RELEASE) - The harsh, cold winter of 2016-2017 heavily impacted the wildlife in Western Wyoming, especially deer. Recent surveys of the Sublette and Wyoming Range herds showed mule deer fawn mortality rates of at least 80 percent. As a result, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking people to help the surviving deer forge ahead through the spring storms by giving wildlife a break and extra space.
The seasonal closure for antler hunting west of the continental divide ends on April 30, so even though it is legal to be on public lands antler hunting and doing other recreational activities, Game and Fish and other partners ask others to wait to go out on public lands near big game and especially deer. The antler season is set in state law so cannot be adjusted at this time.
Game and Fish did extend some closures of four Wildlife Habitat Management Areas it manages around Pinedale. These four Game and Fish administered properties are located within a major migration corridor for the Sublette Mule Deer Herd.
“Deer that have survived this winter are in poor body condition and are extremely vulnerable throughout the spring. We ask everyone to be part of helping our mule deer and all wildlife start to recover from this winter,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of Game and Fish’s wildlife division. “You can help by avoiding areas where deer are present.”
Game and Fish will be hosting a Facebook Live event to talk more about the impacts of winter on deer and other wildlife on Wednesday, April 26 at 12 noon. To watch visit the Game and Fish Facebook page at the time of the event. To receive a Facebook notification when the event begins, like the page. You do not need to be a Facebook user to watch the video. Wildlife managers will give an overview of regional winter impacts and discuss impacts to hunting.