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  • November 4, 2010

    Mule Deer Population Halved in Pinedale Anticline over 9 Years Due to Gas Well Drilling

    By Hal Herring

    It doesn’t take a modern Nostradamus to predict that when you ignore the concerns of local conservationists, doze in miles of new roads and drill hundreds of gas wells, year-round, in winter range in Wyoming, you are going to lose a lot of your deer herd. But a new study on the Pinedale Anticline shows the loss of about half the mule deer that winter there, over the course of the past 9 years. Gee, who would have thought?

    And rather than fueling outrage, raising a hue and cry among sportsmen, the study seems to have been mostly forgotten in the news cycle. Here’s the New York Times story, which mentions the lawsuit brought by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

    The headline states that the mule deer declines warrant "serious" mitigation efforts. Interesting, isn’t it, how we have moved from protecting our wildlife resources and our public lands, balancing energy or other development with wildlife concerns, to "mitigating” the losses? Even though nobody has defined what mitigating the loss of a mule deer herd would actually look like?