The harsh, cold winter has had a heavy impact on wildlife in Western Wyoming, and wildlife officials say deer have been especially affected. Recent surveys of the Sublette and Wyoming Range herds show deer fawn mortality rates of at least 80 percent, so  the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking people to help the surviving deer through the spring storms by giving wildlife some extra space.

April 30th marks the seasonal closure for antler hunting west of the continental divide, but even though it is legal to be on public lands either antler hunting or engaging in other recreational activities, Game and Fish and other partners are asking folks to wait to go out on public lands near big game and especially deer. The antler season can't be adjusted at this point, because it's set in state law.

Game and Fish already extended some closures of four Wildlife Habitat Management Areas i around Pinedale. Those areas, administered by Game and Fish, are located within a major migration corridor for the Sublette Mule Deer Herd.

“Deer that have survived this winter are in poor body condition and are extremely vulnerable throughout the spring. We ask everyone to be part of helping our mule deer and all wildlife start to recover from this winter,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of Game and Fish’s wildlife division. “You can help by avoiding areas where deer are present.”

Game and Fish will be hosting a Facebook Live event to talk more about the impacts of winter on deer and other wildlife on Wednesday, April 26 at 12 noon. Wildlife managers will give an overview of regional winter impacts and discuss impacts to hunting. To watch, just visit the Game and Fish Facebook page at the time of the event. If you'd like a Facebook notification when the event begins, "like" the page. You don't have to be a Facebook user to watch the video.