While the women of Artemis are dedicated hunters and anglers, we are also advocates for all wildlife and wild places. We believe in the value of all fish and wildlife species and know that each has their own unique place on our amazing planet. But two species strike a specific chord in our hearts –mule deer and cutthroat trout. Both icons of the West, and both threatened by habitat loss, these two species deserve special consideration.
Mule deer are found in our fields and mountains and are usually the first big game species young hunters pursue. Unfortunately, they are suffering precipitous population declines.
For instance, Wyoming had about 578,000 deer in 1991 but by 2012, they numbered only 369,000. In Colorado mule deer numbers reached 625,000 in the early 80s declining to current numbers of merely 391,000. These declines are not unique to just these states.
The declines arise from a variety of factors including development that fragments habitat and creates barriers to their migrations, habitat degradation from invasive species, and persistent drought across much of their range. These sobering declines are hard to live with. Artemis realizes we must act now to restore and enhance the mule deer and their range.
We work to protect the sage steppe ecosystem where mule deer spend their lives and where 350 species reside. We advocate for policies that protect mule deer habitat during land planning processes. We conduct and aid in service projects and advocacy across the West aimed at reducing barriers and enhancing habitat in mule deer migration routes. And, we work to educate young people and newcomers regarding the importance of the sage steppe and other ecosystems mule deer rely on.
Even more than the mule deer, cutthroat trout have been severely diminished across their native range. As the only native trout to the interior West, these species are of critical importance to the conservation of our fishing heritage and our aquatic ecosystems. Once numbering in the many millions, cutthroat trout have now been reduced to mere fraction of their native range by habitat loss and degradation, competition from non-native species, and from warming water temperatures. These iconic fish are in need of some help form their angling friends.
Artemis joins the community of anglers and conservationists working to protect these species. We advocate for protections of watersheds that currently hold cutthroat trout populations and work to reintroduce them into more of their native range. We work to restore many of the protections for water bodies that were recently lost with the rescinding of the Waters of the U.S. protections under the Clean Water Rule. And, we work to introduce and educate non-anglers and young people to the plight of the cutthroat, get them out fishing and teach how they can play a role in reviving this once thriving species until they again become a staple of our Western waterways.