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Whitetail Deer Encroaching On Mule Deer

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is proposing to allow more hunting of white-tailed deer in most reaches of northwest Wyoming in order to protect mule deer from being driven out.

Though both species are native to the region, the white-tailed are widespread in the United States while mule deer are limited to the West and are more desired by hunters.

But on the west slope of the Teton Range, near the Wyoming-Idaho state line, more white-tailed deer are expanding out of their traditional ranges and encroaching on areas where mule deer inhabit, Game and Fish regional wildlife coordinator Doug Brimeyer said.

“A lot of the folks were really concerned with the loss of mule deer and are asking us to consider white-tailed licenses,” Brimeyer said at a public meeting in Jackson earlier this month.

“Next December we'll probably look at a doe-fawn licenses for white-taileds,” he said, “to start trying to control white-tails around the state line.”

Meantime, Game and Fish managers are taking the first step to increase hunting pressure on white-tailed deer this coming hunt season.

In eight of nine deer hunt units in and around Jackson Hole, hunters will be able to harvest doe and fawn white-tailed deer this fall.

“That's all new this year,” Brimeyer told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “We went `any white-tailed' for most of the areas in western Wyoming.”

He speculated that changes in the climate may be a factor for the white-tailed deer range expansion.

“Just in the general sense, mule deer are more associated with the rugged mountain terrain,” Brimeyer said. “White-tailed deer are pretty much relegated to the foothills and intermountain valleys.”

Sen. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, is one landowner in the area who has noticed more white-tailed deer near his property

“We have an influx of white-taileds that certainly haven't been there traditionally that are working their way up,” Christensen said.
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