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Deer Population Plummets On Natural Gas Field In Wyoming, Pinedale Anticline, But Feds Won't Reduce Drilling Yet

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Mule deer numbers on one of the nation's most abundant gas fields have fallen to their lowest level in at least nine years, but federal officials are not yet resorting to reduced drilling.

Instead, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is looking at ways to improve winter habitat for mule deer on the Pinedale Anticline in western Wyoming.

A recent report estimates there were 60 percent fewer wintering mule deer on part of the anticline in 2009 compared with 2001, and 28 percent fewer mule deer in 2009 compared with 2005.

Shane DeForest with the BLM in Pinedale says the agency is studying a variety of ways to help mule deer short of slowing industry activity.

The Pinedale Anticline is the nation's third-ranked gas field for proven reserves.

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