Wildlife researchers in Wyoming recently documented the longest mule deer migration ever recorded in the lower 48.
Each year, nearly 5000 mule deer make a 150-mile journey from their winter home in the Red Desert to their summer grazing ranges in the Hoback Basin.
The Wyoming Migration Initiative – an organization that tracks ungulate migrations across the state – published details of the mule deer migration, and will present the researchers’ findings tonight at the University of Wyoming.
The team’s lead researcher, Hall Sawyer, discovered the massive mule deer migration in 2011 when he and the Bureau of Land Management attached radio collars to what they believed was a resident mule deer herd in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Their tracking data revealed that the herd of nearly 500 mule deer only spend the winter in the Red Desert. During spring, the herd migrates 50 miles north to join 4,000 to 5,000 other deer. Together, the massive herd travels more than a hundred miles northwest to the Hoback Basin where they spend the summer grazing.
National Geographic photographer Joe Riis teamed up with Sawyer and his team to document the remarkable mule deer migration.
His video captures the muleys’ perilous journey across state highways, ranch fences, sand dunes and a host of other man-made obstacles.
Featured image via Vimeo