• Jared Oakleaf

An Interloper, a Captivity Journal, and an Irruption: a mule deer memoir

Part 3.5, of a 3.5 part series on the history of the "youngest" member of the deer family.

Part 3 is available at: https://www.comefarpilgrim.com/blog/muledeerhistory3

Photo by the Author


1. Muley Fanatic Foundation https://muleyfanatic.org - MFF is a hard working mule deer centric organization originating out of Wyoming. It now has chapters in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho. Their mission is as follows:

To ensure the conservation of mule deer and their habitat and to provide such supportive services to further the sport of hunting and sound wildlife management.

A recent achievement of this organization is its strong leadership in lobbying the Wyoming Legislature to pass a Wyoming Conservation License Plate Bill. This license plate is purchased at the choice of the motorist. Extra fees are assessed to these plates that will go to a fund for solutions (ie wildlife overpasses) that reduce or alleviate wildlife vehicle collisions.

2. Wyoming Migration Initiative https://migrationinitiative.org/ - WMI has unlocked some of the greatest migrations on earth, including a 240 mile one-way mule deer migration from Southern Wyoming to Idaho. Their work has led to several solutions to decrease migration barriers, increase habitat conservation, and reduce animal-vehicle mortality. Their mission is as follows:

Advancing the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of Wyoming's migratory ungulates by conducting innovative research and sharing scientific information through public outreach.

3. Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Mule Deer Working Group https://www.wafwa.org/committees___groups/mule_deer_working_group/

"In 1997, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) established a Mule Deer Working Group (MDWG) consisting of a representative from each western state and western Canadian province. Since the time of the MDWG’s inception, it has been successfully addressing mule and black-tailed deer concerns shared among wildlife agencies in western North America."

"The purpose for this working group is to:

  • Begin to develop strategies to assist in management of declining mule deer populations throughout the West;

  • Improve communication among mule deer biologists throughout the West;

  • Provide a forum to respond to information needs from agency administration. "

Other organizations doing big things for mule deer and all wildlife include: The Nature Conservancy (https://www.nature.org/en-us/), the National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates, two of my favorite NWF affiliates are: Wyoming Wildlife Federation (https://wyomingwildlife.org/) and Artemis (https://artemis.nwf.org/), and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (backcountryhunters.org/).


1. Barnosky, A. D., Koch, P. L., Feranec, R. S., Wing, S. L., & Shabel, A. B. (2004). Assessing the Causes of Late Pleistocene Extinctions on the Continents. Science, 70-75. Clark, W. G. (n.d.). Journals of Lewis and Clark. Retrieved from https://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/journals/contents 2. USDI Bureau of Land Management. (2018). Newspaper Rock. 3. Keyser, J. D., & Klassen, M. A. (2001). Plains Indian Rock Art. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 4. Geist, V. (1990). Mule Deer Country. Minocqua, Wisconsin: North Word Press, Inc. . 5. Woodman, N. (2015). Who invented the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)? On the authorship of the fradulent 1812 journal of Charles Le Raye. Retrieved from https://repository.si.edu/bitstream/handle/10088/25127/bot_2015_Who_invented_the_Mule_Deer.pdf 6. Daley, J. (2016). Audubon Pranked Fellow Naturalist by Making Up Fake Rodents. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/audubon-pranked-fellow-naturalist-making-fake-rodents-180958907/ 7. Warren, L. (2004). Constantine Samual Rafinesque: A Voice in the American Wilderness. University Press of Kentucky. 8. Heffelfinger, Jim (2016) The Origin of Mule Deer in MDF: Official Member Magazine of the Mule Deer Foundation January/February Issue pg. 8-11 Retrieved from https://muledeer.org/wp-content/uploads/JanFeb.pdf 9. Mosquin, D. (2012). Constantine Rafinesque, A Flawed Genius. Retrieved from http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/2012-70-1-constantine-rafinesque-a-flawed-genius.pdf 10. Gruell, G. E. (1986). Post-1990 Mule Deer Irruptions In The Intermountain West: Principle Cause and Influences. Retrieved from https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_int/int_gtr206.pdf 11. Leopold, A. (1949). Thinking Like A Mountain. Retrieved from http://www.eco-action.org/dt/thinking.html 12. Leopold, A., Sowls, L. K., & Spencer, D. L. (1947). A survey of Over-Populated Deer Ranges in the United States. The Journal of Widlife Management, 11, 162-177. Retrieved 03 07, 2018 13. Dickson, T. (2016). Monitoring mule deer in Montana a calculating task. Billlings, MT: Billings Gazette. Retrieved from https://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/monitoring-mule-deer-in-montana-a-calculating-task/article_14ebaef8-2a33-526c-9837-73b05cf1b6ee.html 14. Mule Deer Working Group. Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. (2018). 2018 Range-Wide Status of Black-Tailed and Mule Deer. Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Retrieved from https://www.wafwa.org/Documents%20and%20Settings/37/Site%20Documents/Working%20Groups/Mule%20Deer/Range-Wide%20Status/2018%20Black-tailed%20and%20Mule%20Deer%20Status%20Update.pdf

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