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Mule Deer Quotas Adjusted in Response To Spring Surveys

While mule deer populations remain steady in portions of the state, spring green-up surveys conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife biologists showed populations in some parts of the state remain lower than desired, and as a result, licenses available to hunters in those areas have been cut back.

Over the past few years, persistent drought, particularly in southeast Montana, has affected both survival and recruitment rates for mule deer. This drought has also, at times, been coupled with hard winters, making it especially difficult for fawns to survive to adulthood. The combination of these environmental factors has impacted mule deer herds in southeast Montana so much so that recent surveys indicate the population there is 48 percent below the longterm average.

“It’s really not been just one thing,” said Brett Dorak, FWP Region 7 wildlife manager. “Hard winters, dry summers – it all takes a toll on mule deer in particular.

But that’s what our adaptive harvest management plan i...