FWP looking at Northwest Montana mule deer populations - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

FWP looking at Northwest Montana mule deer populations

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KALISPELL – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has embarked on a research project looking into mule deer populations in the Libby and Fisher River areas – but catching them may be the hardest part.

"Mule deer are a very important big game species. Obviously, they are a very popular species for hunters to get out in the Fall and chase,” said FWP Region 1 education officer Dillon Tabish.

This winter FWP biologists and game wardens are doing the chasing, teaming up to wrangle as many mule deer as they can.

"Over the next few months we're going to try and capture 30 in a specific location and 30 in another area in the Whitefish Range,” Tabish told MTN News.

They're wrangling them up as part of a research project that Tabish says will give them insight into the population, “in recent years we've seen some minor drops in our check-station data after hunting season."

Tabish says the populations could be perfectly healthy but in order to find out, they need to catch them.

"Making sure we understand how the population is doing what trends could be out there impacting our big game species, whether that be predation, habitat changes, nutrition,” explained Tabish.

He says they're finding out that is easier said than done, “trapping the mule deer has proven a little difficult. The terrain is a little rugged and these animals are pretty smart."

Tabish says the goal of the project is to ultimately gain insight into the population in order to manage them better.

"Research is a huge part of what we do. That really helps give us ideas about how we should be properly managing our wildlife and fish species,” Tabish concluded.

He told MTN News that once the research is complete, FWP will release their findings in a report.

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