Mule Deer Population a Concern

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - An annual report by the Nevada Department of Wildlife says except for mule deer, the state's big game animals are healthy and thriving.

The detailed analysis of big game populations around the state is compiled yearly and used by staff biologists to recommend tag quotas for the fall hunting season.

Nevada wildlife commissioners meeting in Reno will set final tag allocations this weekend. For the most part, agency staff is recommending similar or increased tag quotas over those issued last year for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and mountain goat. Specific recommendations vary by area.

The biggest wildlife concern remains the long-term health of Nevada's mule deer populations.

Wildfires last summer burned more than 1.3 million acres in Nevada, destroying critical winter habitat, mostly in Elko County.

Combined with losses from previous fire seasons, biologists fear the herd may not survive if the fire cycle persists.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)