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A mule deer buck. Wyoming Game & Fish Department is studying why the Powder River herd is declining. So far, biologists have pointed to poor body condition, chronic wasting disease and mountain lion predation as factors in the decline. Photo by Steve Adams on Unsplash

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is participating in a study to learn more about the role of hunting and angling in Wyoming’s – and North America’s – food system. Throughout June, Game and Fish will be surveying hunters and anglers about how they consume and share with others wild-harvested game meat and fish as well as foraged foods like berries and mushrooms.

“Our goal is to learn more about the full benefits of hunting and angling provide to our food system, including to people who may not hunt or fish themselves,” said Brian Nesvik, director of Game and Fish.

A random selection of Wyoming resident hunters and anglers will receive an email invitation to participate in the Wild Meat Sharing and Consumption Index survey, which focuses on hunting, wild harvested meat and the sharing of wild harvested meat.

The study is part of a partnership between Game and Fish and Conservation Visions’ Wild Harvest Initiative®, the first science-based program to assess the full benefits of sustainable wild animal harvests in the United States and Canada. The Initiative will examine the value of wildlife and fish harvests in terms of food, livelihoods, human health, wildlife conservation and the environment. The program will also explore synergies with sustainable agricultural and ranching practices.

“We hope that by exploring how wild harvested food contributes to Wyoming that we will engage more people into the conversation about the value of hunting and fishing to our state – for food and wildlife management,” Nesvik said. “We’re glad this effort will consider overlap with our state’s robust agriculture industry as well as complement our state’s efforts to combat food insecurity with wild game.”

Results from the survey will be used to contribute to the Wild Harvest Initiative’s first complete assessment of the significance of hunting and angling to modern society – economically, socially and ecologically. Learn more at https://thewildharvestinitiative.com.

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