Press Release

Winter surveys show high numbers of mule deer fawns in the Upper Snake

Mule deer fawn numbers are looking really good across much of the Upper Snake Region as we head into the rough part of winter.

"Our fawn production across the region was pretty incredible," said Upper Snake Region Wildlife Manager Curtis Hendricks. "I think that we have only had fawn ratios rivaling these numbers on the east side of the interstate on one other occasion."

Wildlife Biologists conducted mule deer herd composition flights this past December in each of the region’s mule deer data analysis units (DAUs). The Upper Snake Region includes portions of 5 mule deer DAUs – Smoky-Boise, Mountain Valley, Island Park, Palisades and Caribou.

december_2020_upper_snake_mule_deer_composition_surveys
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Numbers in the Total column reflect a sub-set of the population that is counted to generate the Fawn:Doe:Buck ratios within the population and does not reflect the total number of deer in the data analysis unit (DAU)

Fawn numbers in the Island Park, Palisades and Caribou DAUs are at 3-year highs while fawn numbers in Smoky-Boise and Mountain Valley were similar to counts in 2019. If these numbers carry through the winter, hunters will see more yearling deer on the landscape in 2021 than in previous years.

"We’ve had tough winters over the last several years, but these numbers are encouraging," Hendricks said. "If they can make it through the winter, this crop of fawns will help contribute to an increase in mule deer populations down the road."

mule deer in deep snow Terry Thomas
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Terry R Thomas