Pinedale Wildlife Biologist Dean Clause, along with area game wardens, recently completed the annual post-hunt season deer survey for the Sublette mule deer herd. As expected, with last yearâ€™s hard winter, the number of fawns was as low as it has been in many years at approximately 49 fawns per 100 does. The buck ratios stayed decent at 34 bucks per 100 does.
Managers do not attempt to make a population estimate based on the total number of deer counted during the survey as it is just a sizeable sample, but the number of deer seen does tend to give a picture of the population trend.
This year a total of 6,531 deer were counted in the Sublette Herd, which was a 39% decline from the sample of 10,640 counted in 2016. This gives an idea of the number of deer that were lost in last yearâ€™s hard winter. Wildlife managers are likely to again propose conservative hunting seasons, but what the herd really needs to bounce back in consecutive years of mild winters and high fawn survival.
The Game and Fish will be holding public meetings in local communities in January to update the public with the latest numbers, habitat conditions and research being conducted in both the Sublette and Wyoming Range herds. Look for further announcements with the details on when and where these meetings will take place.