The West suffered a brutal, unrelenting winter and now Fish and Game officials are starting to pull in data on how badly big-game populations were affected. The results are devastating.
According to a report from Reuters, there were tens of thousands of winter kills across northeastern Montana, the upper Snake River basin in Idaho and the high country of northwestern Wyoming. Populations for elk, whitetails, mule deer and pronghorn were all ravaged.
Here’s a run down of some of the worst damage:
– Estimates for deer fawn death rates hit 60 percent in the Jackson, Wyoming area, which is more than double last year’s rates.
– In certain regions of central Idaho the mortality rate for mule deer fawns was 90 percent (the average rate is about 20 percent).
– In Montana, biologists say they’ve seen more pronghorn winter kills than they have in 30 years (to read a first-hand account of the devastation see Andrew McKean’s Blood on the Tracks).
“We can’t do anything about the weather, we can only deal with the aftermath,” Idaho wildlife biologist Bret Stansberry told Reuters.