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The Mule Deer Initiative (MDI) strives to protect and improve habitat, improve mule deer numbers and increase hunter satisfaction. Learn more

Mule Deer Initiative

What's New

Southeast Idaho Habitat Improvements: And the Partnerships behind it.

July 23, 2013 - 4:13pm -- idfg-cclass

In the Southeastern portion of Idaho, upland bird hunting is an outdoor pursuit that a majority of the hunting population participates in and values greatly. This drive to create better habitat for a whole gamut of species has driven local wildlife groups to contribute to a couple of great wildlife conservation based positions. Currently we have two Pheasants Forever-Mule Deer Initiative biologists on the ground working in partnership with private land owners, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) to manipulate agricultural ground for the cause of producing quality habitat. This in turn produces more mule deer & upland birds to hunt.

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

July 19, 2013 - 11:40am -- idfg-cclass

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a program meant to set aside land to benefit soil erosion, water quality and wildlife. They are 10 year contracts where the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) pays landowners to install and maintain grass/forb cover on the acres enrolled. Each county is allowed up to 25% of the farmable ground to be enrolled in CRP. To be eligible for CRP you need to meet the cropping history requirements, erosion criteria, and ownership criteria. There are signup periods for CRP. Contact your local USDA Service Centers to see if your land will qualify. Currently Idaho has approximately 648,000 acres enrolled in CRP. Read More!

The Eastern Idaho Aspen Working Group will be sponsoring a workshop and tour on July 16-17, 2013.

June 28, 2013 - 8:46am -- idfg-cclass

The Eastern Idaho Aspen Working Group will be sponsoring a workshop and tour on July 16-17, 2013. Speakers include aspen experts Dale Bartos (USFS) and Paul Rogers (Western Aspen Alliance). There will be a panel discussion regarding the various perspectives on aspen management. Quaking aspen habitats are extremely important to mule deer in the state of Idaho throughout their life cycle. Come and learn more about this important habitat type.

Mule Deer and Aspen

June 11, 2013 - 10:52am -- idfg-cclass

Aspen communities have long been described as critical summer habitat for mule deer, because they often contain a rich diversity of forbs, grasses, and shrubs that provide cover and forage. Unfortunately, aspen communities are steadily decreasing within the state of Idaho. The Bridger-Teton Forest, in the analysis carried out in their last Forest Plan, identified the need to treat about 2,000 ha (4,900ac) of aspen annually to maintain aspen stands currently occurring on the forest. This situation is similar across the various forest districts within Southeastern Idaho.

Mule Deer Fawns are hitting the ground, if you find one let it be!

May 29, 2013 - 10:01am -- idfg-cclass

Mule deer fawns are being born across Idaho from this week through the middle of June.  A majority of the fawns will be born sometime around June 10th.  So what does this mean?  Well, if you encounter a mule deer fawn, chances are it will be alone and appear abandoned.  This is not the case!  Mom intentionally leaves the fawns alone to remain still and reduce scent to the area, a predator avoidance strategy.  So if you happen upon a mule deer fawn that appears helpless and abandoned, leave it alone, it is the fawns best chance for survival.  Fawns turned in by people typically die in rehab

MDI Community Shrub Planting Effort within the Mustang Fire in GMU 21

May 10, 2013 - 1:57pm -- idfg-cclass

On April 19th IDFG staff and volunteers partnered together in the Salmon region to plant sagebrush on important mule deer winter range.  Twenty-nine IDFG staff and volunteers worked together to place 1,500 Wyoming big sagebrush into the rocky ground.  It was a hard day of work fighting the rocky soils of the Salmon area, but we had a hard working group of volunteers.  The Donnelly Gulch project area is an important winter range for a majority of GMU 21's mule deer herd.  The volunteer effort was coordinated through IDFG and the Salmon Valley Stewardship (

MDI Shrub Planting in GMU 74 to Help Restore Mule Deer Winter Range

May 3, 2013 - 3:55pm -- idfg-cclass

MDI staff along with the landowners family and friends, and a local boy scout troop spent their Saturday planting 4,500 bitterbrush and sagebrush seedlings. The scout troop planted around 1,700 plants, the remainder were planted using a tractor pulling a tree planter. Fortunately, it rained prior to and following the planting, which will hopefully increase plant survival.


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Our Partners

Pheasants Forever:

USFWS Partners in Flight:

Intermountain West Joint Venture:

Supporting Links

WAFWA Mule Deer Working Group:

Mule Deer Foundation:


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