On National Hunting & Fishing Day and National Public Lands Day, 40 volunteers gathered with the Mule Deer Foundation outside of Laramie, Wyoming, to help modify fencing on the Medicine Bow National Forest. The project took place on Pole Mountain in an area that is adjacent to the Pilot Hill Wildlife Habitat Management Area and is crucial winter range for deer and elk. Projects like this require a lot of physical work and the help from the local volunteers help accomplish more on the ground.
“This project shows the commitment of people to participate in National Public Lands Day and National Hunting & Fishing Day by getting their hands dirty and making a very real difference for wildlife,” commented Nicole Reed, MDF’s habitat partnership coordinator in southern Wyoming who pulled the project together along with Wyoming regional director, Shawn Blajszczak. Volunteers came through local MDF chapters, the University of Wyoming, Laramie Common Outdoor Ground, and the communities of both Cheyenne and Laramie, as well as U.S. Forest Service and MDF staff.
Some old fences make it difficult for deer, particularly fawns, to be able to move across the landscape. This project, funded by our partners at the Boone and Crockett Club, removed old woven wire fencing and replaced it with wildlife-friendly fencing to allow deer and other wildlife to cross more easily. Fawns are at greater risk during the fall migration because of their size. Barriers that adults can cross more easily are often what can kill fawns. Decreasing the overall height of a fence and installing smooth wire at the bottom of the fence reduces this risk.
“It was great to be out here to help with this project,” said MDF President/CEO Joel Pedersen who participated in the event. “The University of Wyoming pioneered the science that spotlighted mule deer migrations and called attention to their habitat needs and barriers to their movement across the landscape. MDF is working with our partners on the policies that drive migration conservation efforts, but also working with our chapters and volunteers on projects just like this one.”
In addition, to fence conversions, MDF is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service in southern Wyoming to implement projects that benefit mule deer and other wildlife species. Reed serves in a shared position and is working with the agency and private landowners to coordinate habitat enhancement projects in southern Wyoming.
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.