Elk and Mule Deer Migrations: Wind River Indian Reservation

The Wind River Reservation provides vast and intact winter range for at least 10,000 elk and approximately 5,000 deer on the Owl Creek and Wind River Mountain winter ranges in northwest WY. Large groups of elk (1,000+) have been routinely observed moving onto tribal lands in early winter and moving onto lands managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the summer and fall. Thus, the Wind River Reservation provides crucial winter range for elk that are hunted on public land during the fall. Elk also provide recreational, cultural and subsistence values to thousands of enrolled Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho members of Wind River Reservation. Despite these benefits, we do not know the location of migration corridors, stopover areas used by elk or mule deer. Understanding the location and use of these areas is critical to conserving and managing these herds for future generations. Further, we have a limited understanding of the demography of this herd (adult survival, pregnancy rates), and how diseases such as Brucellosis could be influencing population growth. Our proposed work seeks to fill these knowledge gaps to better manage these important herd into the future.

Funding & Partners

Shoshone and Arapaho Fish and Game ∙ Nature Conservancy of Wyoming ∙ US Fish and Wildlife Service ∙ Wyoming Migration Initiative ∙ Bureau of Indian Affairs ∙ Tribal Wildlife Program ∙ Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation ∙ Knobloch Family Foundation ∙ US Geological Survey.