Pinedale Mesa mule deer population drops 60 percent

FROM THE CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE:

By Cat Urbigkit, Star-Tribune correspondent

PINEDALE — Mule deer on the Mesa near Pinedale have declined 60 percent in 2009 compared to 2001, and the animals’ numbers are 28 percent lower in 2009 than in 2005, according to the most recent research on the matter.

The Mesa hosts the Pinedale Anticline natural gas field, and the deer decline has been tracked as part of an ongoing research project that has continued for more than a decade, paid for by industrial companies developing energy resources in the region.

Hall Sawyer with Western Ecosystems Technology Inc. explained the most recent research results to a work session of the Pinedale Anticline wildlife annual planning meeting Wednesday. The long-term deer decline result was also compared to Wyoming Game and Fish Department population estimates, which indicated Mesa mule deer numbers declined at a higher rate than the region’s overall deer population.

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