In an effort to increase the overall health of big game animals that roam the western portion of the US, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a new executive order that would target improving conditions for mule deer, elk, and antelope. The order, which was released last week, calls on Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming to work with the Department of Interior “to enhance and improve the quality of big-game winter range and migration corridor habitat” on federal lands.
" We all know that animals go where animals want to go, and more often than not, that's dependent upon natural features like watersheds, rather than whether the land is owned by the BLM, state, or private landowners,” Zinke said in a statement. “We need to manage appropriately. My goal is healthy herds for American hunters and wildlife watchers, and this order will help establish better migration corridors for some of North America's most iconic big game species like elk, mule deer and antelope.”
In the order, Zinke says that habitat and key migration corridors that link breeding and wintering grounds have been disrupted by residential development. He aims to work with state, tribal, federal and private landowners to create better migration corridors through changing fencing or removing it if not necessary and halting development that harms critical winter range.
According to the Washington Examiner, Zinke announced his executive order in Utah during the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo.
“Utah is ground zero for this kind of initiative on the state level, and we are looking forward to partnering with them and other states in the future,” Zinke said at the convention. “Working together, we will strengthen herds and ensure big game hunting is passed down from generation to generation."