Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wyoming
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wyoming Project

Fawn Survival - WY Range Mule Deer

January 2015 - July 2019


Participating Agencies

  • Muley Fanatic Foundation
  • Bowhunters of Wyoming
  • BLM
  • Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust
  • Wyoming Community Foundation
  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Collared Fawn

In March 2013, the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project commenced, with the overall goal to address important research and management needs identified by the Mule Deer Working Group in the Wyoming Mule Deer Initiative and the herd-specific Wyoming Range Mule Deer Initiative. Broadly, this project is investigating the nutritional relationships between mule deer population dynamics, energy development and disturbance, habitat conditions, and climate to provide a mechanistic approach to monitoring and management of mule deer. This project is the top research priority for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and has received considerable support from numerous partners; because of that support, this 630K project is within 30K of being fully funded. Also, given the intensity of the monitoring that is taking place to meet project objectives, we have a unique opportunity to more fully address complex questions, such as quantifying the effects of predation on fawn survival--a study objective that is often cost-prohibitive to achieve or to measure properly. Indeed, adding a fawn survival component to the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project was discussed at length during the Projects inception, but was deemed too costly to pursue at the time. A study examining survival and cause-specific mortality of a Wyoming ungulate is unprecedented and would be a valuable addition to the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project. Moreover, the relative roles of habitat and predation on dynamics of mule deer populations were key topics discussed during the public input process of the Wyoming Mule Deer Initiative, and knowing their relative contributions will aid in formulating strategies to enhance population growth. Our efforts here will add a Fawn Survival Project to the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project to address directly, the contributions of predation, habitat, and nutrition to fawn survival and deer population dynamics.