Nevada’s mule deer ‘problem’: It’s not what they say

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

By Don Molde -March 29, 2021 Facebook Twitter

Habitat, not predators, is the major factor determining mule deer numbers in Nevada. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Are coyotes and mountain lions the reason Nevada’s mule deer population rests well below historic high levels? Or is it the changing landscape and habitat in this most arid of states?

You’ve probably guessed the answer. Here’s some of the story.

In the 1800s when wagon trains, explorers, miners, and prospectors were traveling and living in Nevada, the only ungulates (hoofed animals) present in significant numbers were pronghorn (antelope) and bighorn sheep. Deer were scarce to absent.

In the early 1900s, mule deer were imported to Nevada by railroad and turned loose in eastern Nevada to serve as meat for mining camps. Deer hunting was probably a motive, too.

While bighorn sheep are the…

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