Platte Valley Mule Deer Project
July 2010 - June 2018
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
The Platte Valley Herd Unit is facing considerable stresses and informational gaps that challenge its efficeint management by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Change in winter and summer habitat, predators, human development, migration barriers, competition from other ungulates, and diseases, are all factors potentially influencing this herd. In addition to the challenges these deer face, wildlife managers currently have insufficient (and contradictory!) information on the stustus and abundance of this herd. Being a large public land area near Wyoming's major population centers, the Platte Valley Herd Unit is of very high interest to the State of Wyoming because of the large amount of public hunting and viewing opportunities it provides. We have four study objectives. 1. Test, modify, and apply the Idaho Sightability model to Platte Valley deer to provide an independent estimate of current populations size, 2. Evaluate the timing of seasonal migrations for Platte Valley deer and identify the most important migration corridors connecting seasonal ranges. 3. Characterize summer range habitat use and response to beetle-killed portions of summer habitat. 4. Evaluate POP-II population estimates under a range of plausible vital rates from the literature necessary to bring predictions in line with sightability population estimates.