Big Game Capture Wyoming 2015

Mule Deer Capture Wyoming 2014
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The Missing Piece: Mapping the Migrations of Wiggins Fork Elk

March 2nd-4th, Dubois

Elk migrations into and out of Yellowstone National Park have been a topic of interest for decades, and new GPS radio collar technology has advanced the mapping of these routes. The Wiggins Fork herd near Dubois, the focus of this capture, is the last gap in a detailed ecosystem-wide map of Yellowstone’s elk migrations.

Primary funders:

Knobloch Family Foundation   George B. Storer Foundation   Shoshone National Forest   Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association   Wyoming Game and Fish Department   Cody Country Outfitters and Guides
  • Fran and Lenox Baker Foundation
  • Betts Family Foundation

Nutrition and Behavioral Response of Moose to Beetle-Killed Forest in the Snowy Mountains

March 5th-9th, Centennial & Saratoga

The mountain pine beetle epidemic has transformed forested habitats of the Snowy Mountains, with uncertain consequences for one of Wyoming's newest moose herds. This study will compare current moose movements to those from a pre-beetle kill study conducted in 2004-2005. We will also assess moose nutrition and demography to understand if the moose population is maintaining positive growth.

Primary funders:

Wyoming Game and Fish Department   Governor’s Big Game License Coalition

Nutritional Response of Mule Deer to Energy Development on the Pinedale Anticline

March 10th, Pinedale

The Pinedale Anticline provides critical winter habitat to thousands of mule deer and is also home to one of the largest gas fields in Wyoming. Researchers are evaluating how habitat conditions and human disturbance affect fat levels of wintering deer.

Primary funders:

Pinedale Anticline Project Office (PAPO)   Wyoming Game and Fish Department   Boone & Crockett Club

The Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project: Measuring Nutritional Carrying Capacity

The Wyoming Range mule deer herd has struggled to achieve robust numbers observed in the 1980s. This study is taking an in-depth look at the nutritional dynamics of this herd to better understand how many deer the range can support. This capture is also the first step in new work to track mule deer fawns to measure their survival and cause of mortality.

Primary funders:

Muley Fanatic Foundation   Wyoming Game and Fish Department   WWNRT   Knobloch Family Foundation   BLM   Governor’s Big Game License Coalition

Effects of Drought and Phenology Tracking on Migratory Deer

When mule deer migrate, they track plant phenology - the spring green-up of forbs and grasses - as they move from low elevation winter ranges to mountain summer ranges. This study seeks to understand how drought alters patterns of plant phenology and whether warming influences summer forage quality, and ultimately the survival and reproduction of migrants.

Primary funders:


The Red Desert to Hoback Migration: Long-Term Monitoring

Mule deer that winter in the Red Desert north of Rock Springs migrate up to 150 miles to summer ranges in northwest Wyoming, crossing a mix of jurisdictional boundaries and obstacles. Long-term monitoring of this population will advance our understanding of the benefits of migration and help guide management and conservation efforts of this spectacular deer migration.

Primary funders:

USGS   BLM   George B. Storer Foundation

The Effect of Beetle-Killed Forest on Elk and Elk Hunters in the Sierra Madre Mountains

Most trees in the Sierra Madre Mountains are infected by mountain pine beetle but it is unclear how hunters and elk will change their use of the forest as trees die and begin to fall. This study will provide an assessment of elk movement and forest use prior to, during, and after massive tree fall.

Major funders:

Wyoming Game and Fish Department   Shoshone National Forest   Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation   Governor’s Big Game License Coalition

Other funders:

Little Snake River Conservation District   Saratoga/Encampment/Rawlins Conservation District

Exploring the Interaction of Nutrition and Disease in Bighorn Sheep

Pneumonia in bighorn sheep continues to drive their population dynamics, and yet, the factors that contribute to epizootic die-offs remain poorly understood. This study will explore another potential piece of the puzzle by investigating how nutrition interacts with disease to influence the population dynamics of three bighorn sheep herds in northwestern Wyoming