Mule Deer

Wyoming's mule deer migrate some 150 miles every year.

If you think of wildebeest in the Serengeti when you think of large mammal migrations, start thinking a little closer to home. Scientists have discovered that the longest known migration of mule deer—an incredible 150-mile journey between winter range and summer range—occurs every year in western Wyoming. The deer move from low-elevation winter range in the Red Desert near Interstate 80 to the high mountains surrounding the Hoback Basin in northwestern Wyoming. They spend some four months on their journey, negotiating sand dunes, lake and river crossings, multiple highways, and more than a hundred fences.

Biologists discovered the phenomenon when they placed GPS collars on twelve deer in the Red Desert in 2011 and followed their movements through spring 2013.

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How mule deer benefit from sage grouse conservation.

by Diana Rupp

Mule deer in many parts of Wyoming migrate from  summer range in the high country to lower-elevation winter range on sagebrush flats, where they are often displaced by development.

 

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High expectations were the order of the day as veteran hunter Jason Gisi arrived at the airport in Hermosillo, Mexico, in January 2005. He was hunting for a trophy desert mule deer with outfitter Agustin Hurtado; his guide would be Chad Smith, an old friend and also a well-known Arizona outfitter.

There was reason to be upbeat: They had found the sheds of a huge buck on the ranch for the past two years, and Chad had seen the buck at the close of last year's season. He had been scouting and knew just where he wanted to take Jason.

The two made a steep climb up a small mountain in the dark on the morning of January 8 and got to a vantage point before it got light. As day broke, both were glassing the desert floor beyond. In short order, Chad broke the silence by saying, "There he is." A huge typical mule deer was feeding below them about 700 yards, right on the edge of the desert floor. It had a harem of does with it and was moving toward thick brush.

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