Mule Deer in the Baggs
Partners: Muley Fanatic, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, University of Wyoming, Wyoming Wildlife Federation
Airport Origin : Saratoga, WY
Use the aerial perspective to give land managers a better understanding of mule deer habitat and migration corridors ahead of upcoming Baggs Mule Deer Migration Corridor Working Group planning meetings.
Mule deer in the Baggs area attracted over 3,000 hunters between October 1st and 14th last year, a huge importance to the local community and economy. The Baggs mule deer herd is one of the few herds in Wyoming with population numbers within current management objectives, largely thanks to the high-quality habitat from the valley floor to the high country in the Sierra Madres and Zirkel Mountains in Colorado.
Collar data from the herd shows yearly migrations of over 90 miles. These deer concentrate on critical winter range near Savery and Baggs before fanning out into the mountains during the spring and summer. the habitat includes vast tracts of aspens, Wyoming sagebrush, antelope bitterbrush, serviceberry, mountain mahogany and Gambel oak. These intact ecosystems are the lifeblood of this highly productive mule deer population.
With increasing pressures from energy and urban development, these migrations are becoming more difficult. Habitats are fragmented by roads, well pads, fences and other development. Recent science has found that well pads can have a significant impact on deer numbers, and can disturb migration and foraging behaviors, which has the potential to impact migration routes and herd health.
Public and private land managers can help determine the future of the Baggs mule deer herd through the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan and the Migration Corridor Designation process and through public meetings with the Baggs Mule Deer Migration Corridor Working Group beginning this July.