Mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep to be captured

*Feature Photo: a Bighorn sheep is released after being recaptured during an on-going wildlife health assessment. (WGFD / Pitchengine Communities) * (Lander, Wyo.) - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will continue work on the Wiggins Fork elk herd and the Whiskey Mountain bighorn sheep collaring, movement and body condition studies initiated last year, as well as beginning work to collar and study mule deer in the Dubois and South Wind River (Lander area) mule deer herd units. All bighorn sheep collared last year will be recaptured to assess body condition coming out of winter and two collars will be re-deployed on Wiggin’s Fork elk. Captures will involve a helicopter and net gun and are conducted in cooperation with the UW Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Wind River Reservation and area landowners. [image: Inline image 1] *A helicopter is used to transport bighorn sheep in the study. (WGFD / Pitchengine Communities)* The mule deer study is part of the Wyoming Migration Initiative’s efforts to map mule deer migrations in the Eastern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to learn the migration patterns and habitats used by mule deer. The studies will be implemented in the Dubois and South Wind River mule deer herd units this year. “Thirty-five mule deer will be captured in conjunction with the sheep and elk work and should be done in just a day or two if weather, and of course, the sheep, elk and deer cooperate,” says Lander Wildlife Coordinator Daryl Lutz. Lutz continues to explain “this is the same as we’ve done with elk in the Dubois area. Once mule deer are collared their movements across the landscape will be monitored intensively during the spring and fall period to document the timing of migrations, and provide insight into their habitat use.” Along with the collars, deer will be weighed, monitored with ultrasound to measure rump fat levels and fetal (pregnancy) rates, and have blood and fecal samples taken for disease analyses. Additional partners in the mule deer captures in Dubois, Lander, and Cody areas include The Nature Conservancy, 10 Country Chapter of Muley Fanatic Foundation, Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, Shoshone National Forest, Knobloch Family Foundation, and The EA Ranch. “We’re excited to see where these mule deer move in the summer," Lutz said. "We anticipate movements in almost every direction and know there is at least some movement from Dubois to Grand Teton National Park.” This is part of the largest mule deer movement study ever to be done in Wyoming. “We’ll be collaring mule deer from the Montana state line to south of Lander along the Wind River mountains over the next two years,” says Lutz. #county10 #news