Let a deer walk. The concept is a foreign one to many of us, particularly when a target buck is in our sights. As such, it is surprising on its face that the "Let a Deer Walk" program has found such favor among hunters. The reason why is a stark reminder that conservationism runs deep in the hunting community, almost more so than the chase itself.
Wyoming had one of the roughest winters on record this year, resulting in an abnormally high winterkill. Some estimates report that the state's mule-deer population could have been knocked down by almost 50 percent, thanks to their lack of access to food, and even their inability to walk in the snow. The powder was so deep in some areas that muley, pronghorn, and even some elk congregated around highways, where they were decimated by vehicles. Muley and pronghorn took the brunt of the damage.
The "Let a Deer Walk," program, therefore, was founded to incentivize hunters to band together and take the 2023 season off in Wyoming, in order to give the herd a chance to recover. The principle is simple: hunters who buy or draw a deer tag for 2023 can mail their tags in by August 1st, for an August 15 prize drawing. This way, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department still receives funding, and hunters still receive a chance at a prize for the cost of their tag.
More than $100,000 in prizes have been donated to the program from across the country. Guided hunts, a $10,000 truck build from Truck King, and even an ATV are among the potential prizes for entrants. Finally, the program coordinators want to make sure it is understood there is no shame in hunting this fall. Anyone who chooses not to partake in "Let a Deer Walk" is in no way harming the herd's chances—hunters should make up their own minds on what to do, and respect the choices of others. Kids in particular should still get out and get after it.
To enter "Let a Deer Walk," run through the La Barge Activities Committee, hunters can mail tags to P.O. Box 147, La Barge, WY 83123. Currently, the program only applies to mule deer and mule deer tags.