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

Wyoming Project

Ungulate Migrations of the Wind River Indian Reservation

July 2017 - December 2024


Participating Agencies

  • Wyoming Governor's Big Game License Coalition
  • University of Wyoming - Biodiversity Institute
  • WY Community Foundation
  • Forest Service
  • WY Community Foundatoin
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foudation
  • Fish and Wildlife Service

The Wind River Indian Reservation provides vast and intact winter range for at least 10,000 elk and 4,000- 5,000 mule deer on the Owl Creek and Wind River Mountain winter ranges in northwest Wyoming. As such, the Wind River Reservation is of high-importance to the sustainability of elk and mule deer within northwest WY. Despite the numerous benefits of elk and mule deer to the local community and hunters of Wyoming, we do not know the location of their migration corridors or stopover areas. Understanding the location and use of these areas is critical to conserving and managing the elk and mule deer populations for future generations. Further, we have a limited understanding of the demography of elk (adult survival, pregnancy rates), and how diseases such as Brucellosis could be influencing population growth. This project seeks to gather this information, working in collaboration with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe Tribal Fish and Game and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This migration study will provide new maps of migration corridors, stopover areas, and winter ranges for these herds, thereby advancing population management and on-the-ground work to keep corridors open.