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Deer, Wildlife to Likely Struggle Through 2013 Winter

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

It could be an extremely difficult winter for wildlife in Wyoming.

On the heels of one of the driest summers on record, and with snowpack levels currently below average, officials with Wyoming Game and Fish say population levels could drop significantly after this winter for mule deer and other Wyoming wildlife.

Game and Fish spokesperson Robin Kepple says many Wyoming animals entered December malnourished.

“It was a pretty dry year in 2012 and that resulted in a measurable lack of forage, and this has left the animals in poor body condition going into this winter,” Kepple said. “We’ll probably see the losses of some of those animals in Wyoming this winter just due to that fact.”

Kepple says, in response to extremely low mule deer fawn ratios, hunting adjustments and limitations may become a necessity in portions of the state.

“Probably what we’ll see as far as impacts to hunters on this is upcoming in our season-setting meetings this year,” Kepple said. “Adjustments may need to be made in some hunt areas to reflect those low fawn ratios.”

Kepple says Game and Fish will have a better understanding of 2013 winter mortality levels by March or April.

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