Elk and deer herds in danger decades after disease discovery, Billings Gazette, May 17, 2017After decades of work, wildlife managers are, in some ways, starting over in figuring out how to manage the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still don’t recommend humans eat an infected animal, but there have been no cases of transmission. Nor did the disease initially tear through herds as quickly as first predicted. But that’s all starting to change. New models are showing that in the long term, mule deer numbers, particularly in central Wyoming, could plummet. Instead of raging through like an ancient plague, the disease kills slowly, taking years or even a decade, and spreading in ways no one quite understands. So Wyoming wildlife managers and researchers are regrouping, working at ground zero with new information and seeking input from the public as they race to grasp the full impact of — and possible solution to — one of the most deadly wildlife diseases facing the state.

Cody Deer Population Control Efforts Complete, Big Horn Radio Network, March 29, 2017Police Chief Chuck Baker says that the department applied for a Chapter 56 permit that allowed them to harvest 50 antlerless deer. This was based on the City Council’s direction, pointing out that complaints have been rising as deer become bolder, attacking dogs and potentially harming children.

Culling the herd, Cody Enterprise, June 8, 2016 There are three methods for culling a herd: trap and move deer, dart the does with birth control or harvest deer, saving meat for people in need of food assistance. The Game and Fish has cautioned against using traps to catch deer and then return them to the wilderness. The method is stressful and deer adapted to city life would not survive in the wild– “It’s basically a death sentence.” Birth control is expensive and not effective, leaving a final option – to harvest about 30 does a year for five years, eventually cutting the herd in half.

Wyoming City Planning Urban Deer Hunts, WideOpenSpaces.com, Sept8, 2015Many towns and cities in Wyoming have problems with urban deer populations.

The Sheridan police department has announced plans for more hunting and removal programs for urban deer with growing populations. The animals cause damage to residences’ plants and landscaping and can bring about an increase in car-vehicle accidents. The department has been working on various programs to keep the deer population in check since 2007. Police officers trained in hunting will hunt deer with rifles. The goal of the department is not to totally eliminate the deer, but to reduce population numbers.
“We harvested 100 deer in 2012, close to 100 in 2013 and then we backed off last year because our goal is not to remove every deer in the city limits,” Sheridan Lt. Travis Koltiska told the Sheridan Press. “Our goal is reduce the conflicts that occur.”

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