Our western Wyoming mule deer herd is in crisis. The winter of 2016-17, advancements in hunting techniques, the selling of big buck coordinates, and unlimited resident tags have taken their toll on this herd. I believe that it is time to reduce the hunting pressure by 50% or more. If steps are not taken immediately, the greatest Wyoming mule deer herd will go down under our watch. I think that we should err on the side of caution when managing this herd. We have a mule deer crisis; let me explain why I feel this way.
There has been a noticeable decline in quality and buck numbers over the past few years. Anyone who has grown up here, hunted here for decades, or studied this herd on the winter grounds has noticed these declines. This is nothing new to mule deer herds across the west. The downturn in quality mule deer is something many of us have watched play out across the west in many places. Other historically high quality mule deer herds have hit the point of no return. Where I grew up, in southeastern Idaho, much of the world class mule deer hunting I experienced as a child is simply gone. The mule deer crisis exists because (more…)