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Wyoming Range Mule Deer Habitat Summary Report

Publication Information

Author(s):
Nick Scribner
Publication Date: 2006-08
Tags: WLCI, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, WLCI Agency Report

 

All over the west, management agencies and researchers are concerned with mule deer 
(Odocoileus hemionus) populations that have been in a general decline over the past few 
decades.  Though reasons why are compounding and very complex, a common theme 
that has become obvious is habitat quality and the amount available.  This report provides 
a summary of various habitat monitoring and improvement projects, loss of habitat, and 
status of the Wyoming Range deer herd over the last half century.   
 
The Wyoming Range mule deer herd occupies an estimated 4,437 mi
 from the Hoback River south to the Redeye Basin, and encompasses much of the land west of the Green River to the Idaho border, which contains the Wyoming and Salt River mountain ranges.  
Ownership of the land is distributed between U.S. Forest Service (40%), Bureau of Land 
Management (35%), and state and private property (25%), and provides various seasonal 
habitats defined largely by elevation gradients (Figure 1) (Fralick 1995).  Lower 
elevations provide winter habitat that are dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and 
salt desert shrub communities on the eastern side of the herd unit while mountain shrubs 
such as serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), chokecherry (Prunus spp.), mountain mahogany 
(Cercocarpus spp.), and bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) contribute a large amount of 
forage to the southern end.  On middle elevations we typically find aspen (Populus 
tremuloides), sagebrush, and conifer mixtures that provide important fawning habitat and 
transitional range during migration periods.  The high elevations are summer ranges that 
typically contain lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and spruce-fir stands as well as several 
tall forb communities.   

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