The Game and Fish Department has drawn up a new management plan for mule deer in the Platte Valley. The herd there has been declining for some time, and the management plan is aimed at reversing that trend.
The plan includes measures to limit mule deer hunting, improve the animals’ habitat and curb predation by bears and lions.
Regional Wildlife Supervisor Rick King says currently, an unlimited number of mule deer licenses can be sold.
“If you just go down to your local license-selling agent or come into a Game and Fish office, you can buy a general license,” he said. “They’re not limited in number, and you can use that license in any hunt area in the state that has a general season.”
King says under the new plan, Game and Fish would cap the number of mule deer licenses they issue.
The plan also proposes measures to improve habitat for the deer, for example by controlling invasive plant species.
“We could make some improvements on winter ranges if we can control cheat grass, for example,” King said, adding that cheat grass burns easily and grows back quickly, so it often chokes out shrubs that are important for mule deer.
Game and Fish will hold a series of public meetings this week to gather public input on the management plan before they finalize it. The first will be in Saratoga on Tuesday.