Home2023 Range-wide Status of the Black-tailed and Mule Deer

2023 Range-wide Status of the Black-tailed and Mule Deer

Abstract: The purpose of this document is to provide a general overview of the current black-tailed and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) population status and general abundance trends throughout their range in North America. The Mule Deer Working Group (MDWG) consists of representatives from the 24 state, territorial, and provincial agencies that comprise the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). The purpose of the MDWG is to provide a collaborative approach to finding solutions to improve black-tailed and mule deer conservation and management. One of the most common types of information requested is the general population status and trajectory of this species. Because of a general and widespread decline in this species in the 1990s, there is still a perception that black-tailed and mule deer populations are declining range-wide. Population status throughout their range is more complex than that with many jurisdictions recovering after that decline and some declining again recently. We created this document to illustrate that complexity. Herein we provide a quick snapshot of the status of this species by having each agency MDWG representative provide a current population status, as well as general survey and harvest information for their respective jurisdiction. All states and provinces use very different methods to survey and estimate population parameters and harvest. Black-tailed and mule deer populations are below agency goals in most jurisdictions, but have been recovering to various degrees for the last decade or more. The last few years have been marked with summer drought and a harsh winter which is reflected in recent population trends. Of the 24 WAFWA member agencies, black-tailed and mule deer populations are increasing in 5, stable in 7, and declining in 12 jurisdictions over the last 3 years.

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  • Publication Date June 29, 2023
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