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Mule deer does, fawns off-limits to youth hunters during antlered season

A mule deer at the Spence and Moriarity Wildlife Management Area near Dubois. (Wyoming Game and Fish)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Wildlife managers have taken mule deer does and fawns off the table for Wyoming youth hunters during antlered deer seasons, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. 

In previous years, youth hunters possessing a full-price youth deer license were permitted to harvest mule deer does and fawns during an antlered season, per Game and Fish. 

This year, however, that regulation has changed with wildlife managers expressing concerns for Wyoming mule deer populations in the aftermath of last year’s harsh winter, Game and Fish says. 

“Mule deer — especially in southwest Wyoming — were impacted after the harsh winter. In response to winter impacts, Game and Fish removed mule deer doe and fawn seasons in many areas of the state,” Deputy Chief of Wildlife Doug Brimeyer said in a statement. 

Youth hunters possessing the appropriate license may take an antlered mule deer or any white-tailed deer — including does and fawns — during an antlered season in accordance with the species limitation of their license in the hunt areas where their license is valid, per Game and Fish. 

In hunt areas where antler point restrictions are in effect, youth hunters possessing a full-price deer license are not subject to the point restriction and can take any buck deer, according to Game and Fish. 

“Female mule deer drive population recovery,” Brimeyer said. “Allowing youth hunters to harvest any buck, including in those areas with antler point restrictions, will not affect mule deer population recovery and will allow a bit more opportunity for those young, aspiring hunters.”

Before heading out to the field this fall, Game and Fish asks hunters to refer to the 2023 regulations and asks anyone with questions about the youth deer regulation change or other hunting-related questions to contact any regional office.