Two recent encounters that the Wyoming Game and Fish has had included wildlife and the effects of trash left behind. According to Casper Wildlife Biologist Heather O’Brien, the office had received a series of phone calls from Casper residents reporting a buck mule deer with an injury to its back foot. It was clear, unfortunately, the buck was suffering from an infection and likely in considerable pain.  After being euthanized, it was also apparent that his body condition had deteriorated significantly.  The object stuck around the buck’s back foot was at first hard to identify and had to be sawed off for closer inspection.  Upon removal, it became clear that the object was in fact the lid to a travel mug!  The buck had somehow managed to step in the middle of the lid- lodging it around its “wrist” or fetlock joint and causing cuts and infection.  It was a shame to see such an impressive deer  (antlers were 31 inches wide with heavy mass and a non-typical “kicker” on one side ) fall victim to injuries from a simple piece of litter.

Wyoming Game and Fish

Another incident involved a Loon caught in fishing line. Local angler Tom Durst had first spotted the loon which appeared to be swimming in place. When he got closer he noticed the loon had braided mono-filament line (fishing line) wrapped around his gullet or throat and mouth - the other end was attached to something under the water.  The loon could not swim away. Tom quickly called Game and Fish wildlife biologists who responded.  Tom used his angling skills to "snag" the mono-filament with a spinner and pull the loon closer.  Heather was then able to catch the loon, remove the tightly tangled mono-filament and safely release the bird, who tremeloed, or called back, a quick thanks before joining its mate in safety.

The Wyoming Game and Fish reminds all residents in Wyoming's outdoors that littering affects a whole lot more than the scenery. Be sure and pick up after yourselves.