Jim Heffelfinger, Chair
Arizona Game and Fish Department
555 N. Greasewood Road
Tucson, AZ  85745
Phone: 520-388-4448
Fax: 520-628-5080



  • A published paper summarizing predator research and management experience in the West (Ballard et al. 2001.  Deer-predator relationships: a review of recent North American studies with emphasis on mule and black-tailed deer.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 29:99-115).  This publication was timely and scholarly, when agencies throughout the west were struggling with public pressure on both sides of this issue.
  • Markedly better communication among mule deer biologists, agency directors and commissioners, and the public in all western states and provinces.  Issues are now informally discussed among states/provinces to the mutual benefit of all involved.
  • Coordination of the biennial Western States and Provinces Deer/Elk Workshop and a standardization of format and trend data.
  • A book summarizing the current knowledge, challenges, and opportunities for the important issues identified by leading mule deer experts (Mule Deer Conservation:  Issues and Management Strategies.  2003.  J. C. deVos, M. R. Conover, and N. E. Headrick, editors, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Jack H. Berryman Institute, Logan, Utah.  240pp.).
  • A popularized version of the above book for easy reading by non-biologists printed in large color format (Mule Deer: Changing Landscapes, Changing Perspectives).
  • Produced and published the North American Mule Deer Conservation Plan to guide the conservation of this important species throughout the continent.  An MOU in support of this plan was signed by all federal partners.
  • Completed an interactive GIS map of North America to identify important mule deer habitat features to aid in managing mule deer and their habitat on a landscape scale.
  • The MDWG was awarded the Wildlife Management Institute’s “Touchstone Award” in 2006.  The Touchstone Award recognizes the achievement of a natural resource management program, professional or group of professionals in the public or private sector.
  • The MDWG has produced a set of mule deer habitat management guidelines for each of the 7 ecological regions in North America.
  • Funded and produced more bronzes for the Wallmo Award given to the leading black-tailed or mule deer researcher or manager in North America.  The MDWG and Mule Deer Foundation raised $5,000 to have 10 more bronzes produced (20 years’ worth) by Joe B. Wallmo, whose father the award is named after.  This award is given out every 2 years at the Deer/Elk Workshop.
  • The MDWG took part in a workshop in Reno in 2005 to discuss differences in population monitoring and find solutions.  This resulted in a published paper (Mason et al. 2006.  A case for standardized ungulate surveys and data management in the western United States, Wildlife Society Bulletin  34:1238-1242).  The MDWG went on to publish a 120-page handbook for deer managers titled “Methods for Monitoring Mule Deer Populations.”
  • Because renewable and nonrenewable energy development has the potential to dramatically affect important mule deer habitat, the MDWG published “Energy Development Guidelines for Mule Deer” to help guide managers towards responsible energy development in mule deer habitat.
  • The MDWG worked with outdoor video giant Orion Multimedia to put together a video production to reach a larger audience with the products and information they have assembled.  The resulting show titled “Mule Deer: Saving the Icon of the West” is airing on the Sportsman Channel throughout the year.
  • Having a collection of the West’s leading mule deer experts presents a unique opportunity to tap into that knowledge to help guide future research so high priority information needs can be addressed as funding becomes available.  In this light, the MDWG has produced a prioritized list of the most important issues in need of additional research.  This work was summarized in a prioritized table for all of mule deer range and also individually by 7 ecoregions in North America.
  • Each summer the MDWG assembles a document to summarize the “Range-wide Status of Mule Deer and Black-tailed Deer” throughout their range. 
  • The MDWG is currently producing a series of 1-page “Fact Sheets” on various topics that are frequently discussed among the public and wildlife agencies. 
  • The MDWG has completed “Mule Deer and Movement Barriers,” an informative document about the issues related to highways and other movement barriers as well as information about how to lessen habitat fragmentation and improve connectivity.