The evidence that the Northern Rocky Mountain mule deer herd is in a tailspin keeps piling up. The deer herds in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have had a very rough go at it as of the past few years, however the winter of 2010-2011 seems to have put many of the mule deer herds in this region over the cliff. After a 150-mile, seven-day horseback ride in the historic Region H of western Wyoming, I only turned up 15-20 bucks and less than 100 deer total. I tend to agree with the western Wyoming state mule deer biologists when they said last winter was the hardest winter in over 20 years on the western Wyoming mule deer herd, and I would certainly have to agree with that assessment. I’m not sure the deer in western Montana and the entire state of Idaho did any better. David Long just completed a seven-day trek into the Idaho backcountry where he only found five or six bucks, and nothing with any age on it.
When I compile the Wyoming MRS section for mule deer in the Feb/Mar 2012 issue of EHJ, many areas and regions in the state will need to be significantly downgraded. The affected regions and areas will include but not be limited to: Regions G, H, and K and areas 130, 141/152, 101, and 102. Make sure you look at that MRS carefully if you plan to apply for a Wyoming mule deer tag in 2012. Nothing would be more depressing than blowing five mule deer points on an area that is in such poor shape.
The Wyoming mule deer herd is in the worst shape I have seen in almost 40 years. And the saddest part of the whole mess, is that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department probably won’t cut the tags back as much as they should to ensure a quick rebound which will possibly add between two and five years to the rebound process. Depressing news I know, but the elk and antelope in Wyoming seem to be doing very well. Good luck in your research and watch for that MRS section in your Feb/Mar issue of EHJ for more details.