Throughout the years, I have literally read every mule deer study or report I could get my hands on. Anytime I find a resource where I can increase my knowledge of mule deer behavior I take full advantage of the opportunity. With that being said, I wanted to share a great resource with you that you may or may not know about. It is the Wyoming Migration Initiative’s website located at www.migrationinitiative.org.
The mission statement of the organization reads: To advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of Wyoming’s migratory ungulates by conducting innovative research and sharing scientific information through public outreach.
One of my favorite reads on the website is The Red Desert to Hoback Mule Deer Migration Assessment. This project was led by Hall Sawyer, a research biologist at the Western Ecosystems Technology (WEST), Inc. The goal of this study was to document baseline movements of 40 mule deer that were collared in the Red Desert near Rock Springs, Wyoming. The researchers got more than they bargained for when they retrieved the collars two years later. The data revealed the longest mule deer migration ever recorded. Rather than being resident deer as they were originally thought to be, these deer in fact migrated 150 miles northwest to the Hoback Basin. You can download the complete report here:
The organization worked with National Geographic photographer Joe Riis to compile a traveling photo exhibit and the short film below that convey the story of this spectacular migration and the challenges mule deer must overcome to complete their 300-mile round-trip journey.
In addition to what I have mentioned above, there are many other reports, videos and other information worth reading on the website. Be sure to do yourself a favor and check them out. You won’t be disappointed.