CEO Ed Arnett addresses Mule Deer Summit

Mule deer numbers have been falling throughout the West. Credit: Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

TWS CEO Ed Arnett addressed the inaugural Mule Deer Summit hosted by the Mule Deer Foundation in Salt Lake City.

The summit came as biologists described being at an “inflection point” in turning around mule deer’s falling numbers. A 2021 Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies report found mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations are stable in 10 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, KSL.com reported. But threats, including habitat loss and prolonged drought, continue to hamper their recovery.

“We seem to keep coming back to the same things that haunt us. … The bottom line is habitat continues to be lost, fragmented or degraded faster than it’s being restored,” Arnett said.

In Utah, biologists suspect that 2021 saw a 10% decrease in mule deer numbers.

“We’re going to need a suite of options, ideas and solutions,” Arnett told the gathering. “There is no silver bullet or panacea to solve any of these complicated ecological problems.”

Read more from KSL.com.