Fence modification benefits Mule Deer migration
by Wyoming Game & Fish
April 25, 2010
LaBarge - Thanks to a cooperative effort between a LaBarge area landowner, local sportsmen and outfitter groups, one of the largest segments of the Wyoming Range deer herd will find it easier to migrate from winter ranges in the LaBarge area to summer ranges in Greys River this spring. Gary Ellingford owns several hundred acres of land near LaBarge that is used by mule deer as winter range. Last fall Mr. Ellingford decided to modify a livestock fence on his property that would allow mule deer to travel more easily to preferred habitats on these important winter ranges.
"The existing fence was much higher than you’d like to see for wildlife passage and included several strands of wire that were unnecessary," said Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Biologist, Gary Fralick. "The top wire of the fence was brought down to our recommended 48 inches or lower and the unnecessary strands were removed, making it much easier for deer and other wildlife to get past it."
To help defray the cost of this voluntary fence modification, Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association, Sublette County Outfitters, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (Pinedale and Star Valley Chapters), as well as individual outfitters, all contributed to help defray the financial cost of $10,000.
"Speaking on behalf of several area outfitters, we appreciate Gary Ellingford taking the initiative to modify this fence simply because he cares about mule deer as much as we do," said Greys River outfitter, Gary Amerine. "This deer herd is one of the most recognized herds in the intermountain west and we need to make sure they are able to easily migrate from winter ranges in LaBarge to summer ranges in the Wyoming and Salt Ranges."
Steve Huhtala, Vice Chairman of the Star Valley Chapter of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife added "The Wyoming Range mule deer that spend the winter near LaBarge are the life blood of the mountains that surround Star Valley, and without people like Gary Ellingford, we would have a lot fewer of them."
Rusty Kaiser, Pinedale Wildlife Biologist for the Bureau of Land Management, was instrumental in bringing all the concerned parties together. According to Kaiser, "This was just a great opportunity to bring together people who care about mule deer to develop a ‘win-win’ situation. There’s no doubt the benefits of this fence modification effort will be realized for many years to come."
Contributors included: The Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Star Valley and Pinedale Chapters contributed $2500.00 each; the Sublette County Outfitters and Guides Association and Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association contributed $250.00 each; and the following outfitters helped fund the project with their private contributions: Sy Gilliand, SNS Outfitters and Jackson Hole Outfitters ($500.00), Gary Amerine, Greys River Trophies; Terry Pollard, Bald Mountain Outfitters; and Dustin Child, Trophy Mountain Outfitters contributed $250.00 each.