The Saratoga Sun -

Ungulate perambulation conversation

Public invited to discuss mule deer migration corridors in the Platte Valley


February 20, 2019

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department invites members of the public to join in discussions about the management of mule deer migration corridors in the Platte Valley.

Wildlife managers want to better define and understand the migration risks for big game animals in the Platte Valley.

“We hope to gather input from the public on the potential challenges facing migrating ungulates and look at ways we can mitigate these challenges,” said Embere Hall, wildlife management coordinator for the Game and Fish Department’s Laramie Region.

For example, hazardous fencing that limits safe and efficient passage for wildlife has been identified as major migration barriers and bottlenecks in the Platte Valley. Using GPS collar data, more than 30 miles of high-risk fencing have been identified in migration corridors in the Platte Valley and are being converted to wildlife-friendly designs. These fence conversions help reduce entanglement mortalities, mitigate energy costs to migrating animals, increase habitat connectivity, and help maintain livestock grazing management. “We want the public’s input on similar features in the Platte Valley landscape that pose potential threats to animal movement,” Hall said.

During the discussion, wildlife managers will share the process Game and Fish uses to designate migration corridors, as well as how they formulate recommendations to land management agencies. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Platte Valley Community Center, 201 W. Elm Street in Saratoga.

The Platte Valley mule deer migration corridor network represents seasonal migration corridors documented through the use of GPS collar technology and other scientific methods. These corridors document important habitats used by approximately 5,000 mule deer migrating from summer range in the Sierra Madres, the Snowy Range and northern Colorado, to winter range in the Platte Valley. The corridors also illustrate the barrier to migration caused by the development of Interstate 80; where at present approximately 400 mule deer utilize one machinery underpass for safe passage to winter range.

The Platte Valley migration corridor network is located primarily in Carbon County in south central Wyoming and into Jackson County in north central Colorado. Landownership is mixed within the migration corridor and encompasses 196 square miles consisting of: Private (50 percent), Bureau of Land Management (30 percent), Forest Service (14 percent), and Office of State Lands & Investments (6 percent).


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