In this episode of The Epic Outdoors Podcast Jason Carter sits down with Miles Moretti, President of The Mule Deer Foundation. Jason and Miles discuss Mule Deer management in the west. They cover many important topics including habitat, range, age class, funding, and many other factors in deer management and conservation. Jason and Miles also talk about the Mule Deer Foundation as an organization and its goal of helping to grow and sustain healthy Mule Deer populations throughout the west.

Disclaimer: this podcast has been transcribed from the original audio and likely contains errors. This transcription does not reflect the views and opinions of Epic Outdoors LLC. Please consult the original audio with any concerns.

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Everybody grew up hunting mul deer. What

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Can we do that’ll make a difference?

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You want higher populations, but you want to keep hunting them and not lose your hunting privileges.

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It seems like every predator out there likes to eat a mul deer.

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Anything to do with Western big Games?

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To the Epic Outdoors Podcast, powered by Under Armour.

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Hey everybody, it’s Jason Carter. Welcome to the Epic Outdoors Podcast, powered by Under Armour Hunt. In these episodes, we generally sit down with some of the leading people in the industry as well as biologists and d w r guys and, and different conservation organizations, and just extract good and valuable information and ideas that help us become more educated as sportsmen and also help us become more successful at hunting. So anyway, if you’re new to the show, don’t forget to subscribe to the Epic Outdoors Podcast, as well as on our YouTube channel. Today’s guest, we’ve got Miles Moretti, the President of the Mul Deer Foundation. Welcome, miles. Hey,

00:00:58:20 –> 00:00:59:15
Great to be here. Thank you.

00:00:59:17 –> 00:01:37:22
You bet. Thanks for taking some time to be with us. I’ve known Miles for many, many years. Miles has, has got a extremely long resume. I’ll let him talk about it a little bit. But anyway, he’s been a significant person in the Utah Division of Wildlife as well as now he’s the leader of the Mulder Foundation, which is near and dear to my heart because everybody knows I love Mulder and I’ll do anything to hunt those things down. So you provide the opportunities and I take advantage of those miles and I appreciate that. That’s, I appreciate that. Anyway, give us a little bit of your history and background to hunting and, and how you got to where you are today. Well,

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You know, I like to always start out ’cause I was, I was born in Wyoming and so I’m a, I’m still a Wyoming boy at heart, even though I’ve lived in Utah a lot of years. And I always tell people I grew up in the golden age of mule deer in southwest Wyoming. That’s what we hunted. Yeah. We didn’t have a lot of other things to hunt back then. Antelope were just coming in sage grouse. We had to go north to hunt elk or moose. So I love mule deer. Always have loved mule deer. I had a chance to go to Utah State University and that’s where I met, met your dad and you bet we, we went to school together. It was a lot of years ago. It was many years ago. In

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Fact, I was born in Logan. I know. Which was while he was going to school.

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Right, right. Yeah. So, so we go way back and, and then we ended up both working for the division together. And I, I worked at, with the Division of Wildlife Resources for 30 years, you know, started out as a biologist, came up through the ranks and, and then was director for a short time. And then ended my career as deputy director. And after 30 years I started looking around and saying, I wanna do something different. I wanna make a difference. Yeah. And, and Mule Deer Foundation offered me the job they offered to move our headquarters from Reno to Salt Lake. I didn’t, didn’t have to move. I said, that’s the best of both worlds. Wow. And I really view Salt Lake, Utah as the center of mule deer habitat. Yeah. Everything. You know, it’s, you know,

00:02:53:09 –> 00:03:02:12
Well within 10 or 12 hours you could be about anywhere miles. Yep. You could be in New Mexico, Colorado. You’ve got Montana, Wyoming, Oregon. And so you, it is somewhat centrally located.

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Yeah. And so we, you know, so that last 10 years when I walked into M D F, it was, it was struggling. It, it had gone through some, some budget things and was really struggling with its identity. So we came in re reorganized, refocused. And, and so we’ve seen tremendous growth in the last 10 years. We’ve got over 150 chapters nationwide. Wow. We’ve got over 40,000 members. And I, I have to laugh ’cause we just signed a charter in Shreveport, Louisiana. Geez. And there are people from Louisiana that come out and hunt in the west and love mule deer. And they’re willing to have a local banquet there.

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How awesome is that?

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It’s amazing. I would’ve never thought that

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They don’t have mule deer there. Right. They don’t have Mule Deere and you don’t have plans to put ’em there. Right.

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And we don’t have plans to put ’em there, but well, we’ll, we’ll take their money.

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Well, we appreciate them and their support and that’s awesome. You know, there are chapter spread out all over and sometimes that’s what it takes a great big footprint to make us quite a change here in the West, you know? And so, you know, what I find interesting Miles is, is I can’t help but think how much knowledge you have by being involved in the D W R. And you are involved on the state side while working with organizations. And now you’re on the organization side, the conservation side, working with the D W R. And so how, how do you feel like that’s helped you in, in your current position? Well,

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When I left, I was, you know, a lot of the directors were, were my peers. And so they, as times changed those individuals that have come up out of the ranks of these state wildlife agencies. I was on committees with a lot of those guys. Yeah, yeah. You know, and, and now they’re directors and deputy directors and and Chief of Wildlife. And, and so that’s, it’s all about relationships.

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It’s all about relationships.

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You, you build those relationships. You, you meet people through your career. You never know where they’re gonna end up. I I run into people all the time that, that are, they were my seasonals Yes. Back, back in the seventies and eighties. And, and, and they’re now in, in positions of, of authority and, and where they can make a difference and yes. Give us funding and partner. So that, that part’s really critical. And, and, and state wildlife agencies, we view them as our partner. We’re maybe not as political as some groups and in there every day asking to change regulations. Sure. And, but if there’s something they’re doing, we don’t like, we’re willing to tell ’em.

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Absolutely. You know? Well, and you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta have a backbone. You gotta stand for something. And we all, and we need to do that. And that’s what makes a good leader. And I think that shows with your leadership. And so yeah. There’s a lot of good things that come from Eller. I, I can see how relationships is everything, you know, with our business as you go throughout time. And, and, and, you know, we’re relatively a young company, but we we’re, we’re doing extremely well in the short time that we’ve been doing it. And a lot of it’s based on relationships. It’s a hundred percent relationships and how you treat people

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A absolutely. You, you’ve gotta have those and, and, and, and you gotta have credibility and that, and that’s the big thing. You know, you, you, you do what you do what you say you’re gonna do, you know? Yes. And you follow through. And, and, and that makes a huge difference. And I think that’s one of the things that’s really helped us is, is when we commit to fund a project or do something or get our volunteers out there, we’re we’re there. You’re following through. We’re following through. Yeah. Yeah. Where others sometimes commit money and they go, well, that was just a pledge. I can’t do that. You know, so. Yeah.

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Well, that’s great. And so what are some of, maybe some of the goals of Mueller Foundation? You know, like where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re headed. I know Mueller Foundation, you know, everybody grew up hunting Mueller. I mean, every single deer, elk, sheep and bear hunter is a mule deer hunter at heart. Right. Right. I mean, we all grew up doing that. Right. And so, and so you would think you’d be one of the largest organizations there is. What are some of the challenges with that? I know, I know. We’re all trying to grow, whether it be a private business or a conservation organization, we’re all trying to grow. And that’s the name of the game. And so what did you feel like some of the challenges are of that?

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Well, interestingly, a year ago there was an organization formed National Deer Alliance, which I’m on that board with some whitetail groups. And they’re more of a political group. But, but one of the statistics that came out of that is there’s a 11 million deer hunters in the United States. Yeah. And of course there’s a lot more whitetail hunters than, than mule deer hunters. Yeah. But less than 1% of those deer hunters belong to any group.

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And I, and I and I, I just, why

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Is that?

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I don’t, because deer have always been so plentiful.

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That’s, and I think you’re a hundred percent

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Rights. You know, there’s,

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There’ve always had deer tags. Yeah. Right.

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Yeah. Always had deer techs and you can go buy ’em over the counter. Well, in the West, that’s not happening anymore.

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It’s changed.

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It’s changed. And so people are really starting to come on board and say, wait a minute, how, what can we do? What can we do that’ll make a difference? Yeah. And that’s where, you know, our habitat projects and all the other things we do research, everything else comes in as we’re now saying, here’s how you can help us. Well,

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And I’ve seen, so speaking of change, you know, I know back in the eighties you could get an over over the counter strip tag

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Even. Yeah,

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Yeah. And I mean, look at what it’s once in a lifetime basically for a non-resident now. Right. And same thing with General Utah. You know, I mean, you, you, we used to have basically you could just buy ’em over the counter. We did buy ’em over the counter. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And that’s somewhat gone away. I mean, it’s still easy to draw, but you are under a draw system. Yeah. And so you we are seeing that before our very eyes changing. Yeah. And, and I think a large part of it is you’ve got a limited finite resource and, and habitat to support that resource. And then you’ve got a, a growing population of hunters, which is good. We want to encourage hunters, we want to encourage that. But it does come, it comes with a price, so to speak.

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Yeah. And the other thing I always tell a lot of our people that, you know, some of the opportunity we’ve lost is, is our hunters have demanded better quality deer. Yeah. They got tired of shooting the two points and Yes. You know, and so what I say, they always say, how do you get big deer? And I says, first of all, you gotta have old deer. Yes. They’ve gotta get beyond two years old. That’s right. To get big to where people like ’em. So if you’re gonna do that, that means you’re stockpiling bucks and you’re, you’re, you know, you, your range can’t carry as many deer. So the agencies are restricting how many tags, you know? Yes. And so

00:09:06:25 –> 00:09:13:16
That’s quite a challenge to manage. You’re not just managing deer miles and you know this from the d w R days, you’re managing the social aspect.

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Right. It’s social,

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You know, you’re trying to keep everybody happy while also trying to manage the deer and do what’s right for the deer. If you just did what was right for the deer. Yeah. You would have somewhat of a different management plan from the game and fish. Absolutely.

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But we are trying to keep people happy. Yeah. And so Yeah, you’re right. People, people do want to go out there and feel like they can, they can harvest a mature deer or maybe even a 30 inch buck or a Now we, now we measure in inches. Yeah. And, you know, and grow score instead of inches wide. Yeah. Yeah. Back when you were a kid it was 30 inches wide. Yeah. And how many points aside,

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You know, a lot of times when I was a kid, I remember we just shot a deer. Yeah. If we saw a deer, we shot a and generally it was a big deer. It wasn’t a small deer. Yeah.

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And a long time ago, there was even party hunting. There was so many deer. I mean, it has changed so much, you know? Yeah. It really has. So, anyway. And I think, you know, also from the management and biology side of things, it’s, it’s healthy for herds to have a large number of mature bucks Absolutely. To do the breeding. And maybe there’s a lot of theories I know beyond Yeah. Behind that. Yep. Where the breeding takes cur, you know, takes place and, and, and you know, the intensity of the rutt and the timing of the rutt, which the timing of the fonts hit the ground. I mean, there’s a lot of theories and, and different things where predation could come involved and Yeah. And depending on when the fonts hit the ground, you know? Yeah. If they, if they’re spread out, there could be a lot more predation versus all hitting at the same time. Yeah.

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And there, there’s some real, real merit to that. And, and, you know, and that is another factor that we’re challenged with all the time is, is the P word predators? Yes. Is, is man, now we got wolves on the landscape. And in some places, grizzlies on the landscape, more coyotes than ever. States are wanting to ban lion hunting and they’re wanting to ban bear hunting. And Yes. And you know, from the social, and it’s all social. Yes. It’s not biological. And so there’s a lot of pressure. ’cause it seems like every predator out there likes to eat a mule deer. Yeah,

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Absolutely. Well, it’s kind of an easy target. Yeah. You know, so to speak. And there’s, they are plentiful and generally speaking compared to other animals. And so anyway, yeah. I think there’s, there’s a lot that goes into that. And two, when we manage wildlife, you know, there’s a lot of things we can’t manage. We can’t manage the snowfall you guys had this year in northern Utah. We, it’s, and Wyoming and Colorado and Oregon and Idaho. And so, and even Montana, you get this where it comes in, it just crushes our deer herds and saw this work for the last 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 years. You’re like, oh my gosh, we’re starting over square one. Yeah. And you hope you have just enough dose to keep the breeding going, you know? And keep, now we gotta double our population again. And how are we gonna do that? Well,

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I can tell you one of the things that’s helped is with this, with everybody, us and focusing on some habitat improvement and across the whole range that when you have these winter events, hopefully there’ll be be a few more deer that survive. Except, you know, there’s, this has been an unused 50 year event. Yeah. And, but, but the thing of it is, I think everybody’s focusing on deer. And so when we have these weather events, hopefully we can recover a little bit faster now. Whereas before our habitat was getting so bad that when, when you had a nice weather, the, the productivity wasn’t there. So.

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Yeah. Well, and I think it’s important too, is there’s only so many factors we can control. Yep. And so we try to control those. And that might be doing a chaining predator control. Like we can control some of those things. Although it was extremely effective using 10 80 back in the day when you were with the first, with the D W R. Yeah. Yeah. You know, and, and we had no predators because of poison. And then we had high deer numbers because of po thankfully to poison. But then, you know, times change, we can’t use that. So what are the other methods? And then, and we do have predator issues, but we’re always gonna have predator issues. But sometimes, you know, we feel like, well, let’s control the things we can control to help the deer the best we can. ’cause the things we can’t control, we truly can’t control.

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Yeah. And, and I, and the thing of it is I think we’ve accelerated those, those things we’re finding new, with this new technology, we’re finding out more about migration corridors, about nutrition, about things like C W D, you know? Yes. Things like that. We’re learning so much more Yes. That now we’re able to focus on some of those things that maybe if we can do one or two small things, that we may actually have a big impact.

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So tell me some of the different avenues, if you will, things that, that you’re involved in. So like you said, you’re doing studies, you might be doing habitat, you’re doing, do you, do you donate to predator control? I mean, what are some of the things, what does the Mulder Foundation do? We,

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Well, we kind of do it all. We, we, we definitely do habitat. We’re a habitat based organization and we have a landscape habitat program where we’re working on the forest. We’re working on the B L m, cutting down pin juniper, which, you know, invades a lot of winter range. One of the things we found is that the transition range in the summer range has gotten in such poor condition from lack of forest management, lack, you know, and then you get these big huge fires

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Variables that you’re not in

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Control. Yeah. You can’t control. But if we can go in and do some pre-work before that fire hits Yeah. Or, or open up that canopy, it helps Yeah. Increase the productivity of that health of that forest. Because we’re finding if those deer come off the forest in poor condition Yeah. They do not make it through the winter. Yeah. But if they can come off the forest with, in good condition

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Yeah. A little bit of

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Fat, they can take a little harder winter, you know. Yeah. Than, and, and a mild winter, they do really well. Yeah. And the fawn survival’s better ’cause those fawns are bigger, healthier. Yeah. So we’re really focusing not only just on the winter range, but on the, on the summer range. We’re also actively in, anytime there’s predator control or predator studies, we’re involved in that. ’cause we want to know and we wanna help, help do that. Unfortunately, with the social aspects of it. Now, Colorado decided they wanted to remove some cougars. Okay. Well, the public just went crazy. Yeah. You know, Colorado’s getting pretty anti-hunting. Yeah. And so what they had to do is move that into a lion’s study. Oh, okay. So they put it into a study and they’re gonna remove some lions Yes. In one unit and nod in the other. Yes. And it’s frustrating because we all know lions eat deer. Yes.

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A lot of deer. We

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Don’t need another

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Study. A lot of deer.

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Let me show you some studies. Oh yeah. You know, oh geez. Yeah. That is a challenge. And so what, speaking of challenges, what are, you know, some of the biggest challenges facing mul deer?

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Well, I, I think two things. I mean, with, with these big catastrophic fires, a lot of, because we’ve been real dry in the west up until this year, you know, when you have a fire in Nevada, it all turns to Cheatgrass.

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Yeah. It does.

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Cheatgrass is not, these

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Properly be, be properly seeded. So having

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Some sort of, we’re working nationally on the, on the fire budgets for B L M and the Forest service that they can get in and do some pre-commercial work. You know, timber work they call it. But it’s thinning out that forest, trying to get some, some of that. So those forests, those fires just don’t sweep those huge areas. So we’re, we’re working hard there. That’s something we can, we can work on. And, and so that’s, we’re focusing on, on that kind of stuff. On the habitat arena, we’re focusing on trying to do some, you know, legislation like getting wolves delisted in Wyoming and, and fighting, you know, wolves, the Mexican wolf reintroduction. ’cause if the Mexican wolves fine, fine. The Arizona strip and

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The It’s gonna hurt.

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It’s gonna hurt, it’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna hurt back

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Fast. Yeah. And so we’re trying to keep that from happening. So we’re on the political side of it when we have to be. Yeah. And then we’re on the habitat side.

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It just feels like there’s battles everywhere you turn up miles. It is, it

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Is. It’s like you’re, some days I feel like Don Quixote tilting, tilting up windmills.

00:16:43:21 –> 00:17:01:12
I’m just glad it’s you Miles. I’m just glad it’s you. Well, good. And so tell me about, like, tell me about some of your funding. Like where do you get the funding? How does that all, how does that all work? And and then how do you decide, you know, do you have percentages that you distribute fund? How do you distribute funds and where do you distribute ’em? Well,

00:17:01:12 –> 00:17:35:00
We’re, we’re a banquet driven organization with 150 chapters across the coun country. We allot, a majority of our revenue comes from banquets. Okay. And, and in those banquets, we leave a certain percentage at our local level for them to do a project locally. And then, you know, all the money comes to national, but then we reallocate it back out to where the need is. Okay. And the priority. And we, we focus on getting the money back to the states where it was raised. But that’s a majority of what we do. Memberships. So to put in a a, a plug for mule deer, go to mule and join. Okay. Yeah. $35. Absolutely. You know, that’s something anybody

00:17:35:00 –> 00:17:35:25
That Hunts Deer should join.

00:17:36:02 –> 00:18:11:16
They should be a member. They really should. And they get a nice magazine and a few other things. Yeah, absolutely. But you, but then also, you know, we get, we’re now starting getting more and more grants. Of course. We, we sell over $2 million worth of, of state auction permits. Permits. Okay. And, and when that goes back to the states, in almost every state, it has to go back to, to projects for the species that was raised. Yes. And we get to sit on committees to help depict those projects with the, with the state agencies. We return over 93% of that money back to the states.

00:18:11:19 –> 00:18:17:10
Okay. And so let’s say seven to 10% of it is used for administrative costs. Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, it takes money.

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It takes,

00:18:18:01 –> 00:18:19:05
It takes money to run an organization

00:18:19:11 –> 00:18:20:13
Like this expo, you know?

00:18:20:26 –> 00:18:31:23
Absolutely. Yeah. It does. And then, and your day-to-day operations, your buildings all, and, and, and let’s face it, if you weren’t paid miles, like you, you wouldn’t do as good a job. We, I mean, we want you in there and we want to pay you. Yeah.

00:18:31:26 –> 00:18:32:20
And I wanna be paid.

00:18:33:08 –> 00:18:41:18
Absolutely. We all do. And that’s, and that’s totally understandable. Yeah. But then you also have, so, so let’s say how many on your committee that are paid? Like how many paid employees? We have

00:18:41:18 –> 00:19:07:14
27 employees across our whole organization. Okay. And, and our goal is to keep that at a minimum. Yes. And because we, we wanna stay above 93, 90% of our, our income going to our mission. So, and we don’t Okay. We don’t wanna be a big bureaucratic. Right. So we run lean and mean and, but luckily we’ve been able to do well enough. I was able to put a full-time regional director in Idaho this year. Nice.

00:19:07:18 –> 00:19:07:29

00:19:07:29 –> 00:19:11:07
Really needs some help. Yeah. And so, you know, we, we,

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I lo I love Idaho.

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It’s just a real, we try to stay as lean as we can for

00:19:15:08 –> 00:19:48:05
Staff. Yeah. It makes sense. Yep. Well, Idaho, Idaho’s got some giants and they got some of the best genetics entire west. And so I’m a little, little partial by Idaho, but I, but you know, I live in Utah and I love Utah and harvested some good bucks down here too. But on those funds. And so like, when you sell, we’re gonna sell some tags tonight. Miles. Yeah. Yeah. And and large part, we’re gonna make some money. Yeah. And so let’s say a tag sells for a hundred thousand dollars. Let’s just throw that out there. Yeah. Do you give, let’s say it’s 93,000 goes back to Utah, d w r? Or does it go into your account where they help you with the projects?

00:19:48:05 –> 00:19:55:14
Every, every state’s different. Arizona and California, or Arizona and Nevada. We return a hundred percent of it. Okay. We don’t

00:19:55:14 –> 00:19:55:28
Get to keep it

00:19:55:28 –> 00:19:57:14
No commission, no commission on those things. You’re

00:19:57:14 –> 00:19:58:01
Just doing it to be nice.

00:19:58:11 –> 00:20:05:00
Yeah. Arizona, we get to sit on a committee. We can bring projects there and help pick projects that are gonna be funded. So

00:20:05:03 –> 00:20:08:20
The Builder Foundation, for example, might be a part of a guzzler project in Arizona.

00:20:08:24 –> 00:20:13:12
Well, we, we not only will sit on that committee, our volunteers probably are installing that guzzler. Oh, okay.

00:20:13:15 –> 00:20:13:26
So that’s

00:20:13:27 –> 00:20:43:14
How we work. And in Nevada it goes into more of a, a pot that they select the projects, the heritage account. Yeah. Yeah. Heritage account. So, and then Utah is, is the unique one. We keep 10% for us, 30% goes immediately back to the division. Okay. We hold 60% in a restricted account. Okay. That’s conservation permits. Okay. So we hold that in an account. We can’t spend that for anything else other than projects. Okay. The Director of Wildlife Resources signs a, a project form, I sign it. And then,

00:20:43:20 –> 00:20:48:10
So it has to be approved by Utah. D w r you guys Yeah. Aport committee.

00:20:48:13 –> 00:20:57:14
Yeah. And, and, and it goes into the Utah Watershed Initiative, which we were able to fund $1 million in projects last year. Wow. That from the funds raised here in Utah.

00:20:58:05 –> 00:21:05:02
Wow. And so if a Deer Tech sell, if a Utah Deer Tech sells, does those funds stay in Utah or will you use them? Nope. Across the west. They

00:21:05:15 –> 00:21:09:08
All ev every state, when you sell it for that state, it stays in that state. Okay. Yep.

00:21:09:09 –> 00:21:12:14
Makes sense. Yeah. And so, like the Antelope Island tag, how does that work now

00:21:12:14 –> 00:21:36:07
That, that’s a little unique in that it goes to state parks. Okay. Because parks, the state parks manages the island. Makes sense. The island just burned half the island burned this year. Okay. They spent $400,000 re-seeding the item. Okay. That money was able to buy that seed. Okay. They didn’t have that in their budget. Yes. So, and so that money, we only keep 10% of that, and the rest of it goes back, goes into Parks and Rec. So. Okay.

00:21:36:12 –> 00:21:41:23
What do you feel like are some of the best projects, most effective projects that you’ve seen while you’ve been the director?

00:21:43:09 –> 00:21:51:06
Well, I can tell you it varies. In Arizona, it’s water. It’s all about water. Okay. And, and, and we, we do more water projects there than anywhere

00:21:52:16 –> 00:21:54:01
Nevada. I know it’s water. Yeah.

00:21:54:01 –> 00:21:54:12

00:21:54:16 –> 00:21:56:24
Maybe. And like you said, there’s some seeding that needs to happen.

00:21:57:15 –> 00:22:57:16
We’ve done some real rehab of fires and as you get north, it’s more pinion juniper removal, it’s more forest management. It’s, you know, re rehabbing springs. Interesting project that you never think of is the Charles Russell Wildlife Management area in Montana is huge. Yeah. Yeah. They had a barb wire fence that was a migration barrier. Deer to antelope and mule deer. Yeah. And our guys went out and rolled up 40 miles of fence. Wow. Yeah. I mean, Bob Wire, we got these rollers, these automatic rollers. Yeah. And they did that. Another neat project coupled states, Montana and North Dakota is public access. Okay. We just opened 20,000 acres of public asset access. Yeah. In North Dakota, hunters can go into this private ranch and their neighbors are watching, there’s 30,000 more acres sitting there. Yeah. If that’s successful. And as hunters, we don’t ruin that. Yeah. That, that opportunity, we can open up 50,000 acres to public access and Wow. Because North Dakota’s private land. Yeah. And so, you know,

00:22:57:17 –> 00:23:00:01
There’s a lot of things going on, a lot of things going on, a lot of things going on.

00:23:00:06 –> 00:23:28:04
A lot of things going on. We do it every, every state has different issues. Yeah. You know, and so what one size doesn’t fit all. Yeah. You know, and so we just have to, you know, I, my first visit to Montana, I was talking to our volunteers, and of course here I came outta Utah and I was talking Habitat, habitat, habitat. And the first person raised their hand and they said, I have a question. And I said, what’s that? And he says, we have plenty of habitat in Montana. Oh, we want some deer. We Yeah. We, we just don’t have access. We got these guys or access. Yeah. We, we don’t have any access.

00:23:28:11 –> 00:23:36:19
I know, I’ve heard that about Utah. That’s why I say that is, is we, we, you know, people say, well, we got plenty of habitat, we just want some deer. And there’s a lot of moving factors to getting more

00:23:36:19 –> 00:23:37:26
Deer. Lot of that Exactly right. You

00:23:37:26 –> 00:23:53:28
Know, a people wanna still hunt deer every single year. Yeah. But, and, and yet, you know, they, anyway, you want higher populations, but you wanna keep hunting ’em and not lose your hunting privileges and Yeah. You know, every single year. So there’s lots and lots of changes. Of course, we’ve got weather that we’ve been talking about predators.

00:23:54:04 –> 00:23:54:10

00:23:54:10 –> 00:24:04:26
Yeah. There’s just a hundred different variables. Although I must say, you know, with the exception of this winter, super, super happy with the results we’ve had the last four or five years here in Utah at

00:24:04:26 –> 00:24:31:18
Least. Yeah. Yeah. Well, the, the, the Mule deer working group puts out their biannual status of mule deer and Blacktail deer, the one they just put out before this winter, showed every state on an uptick Yeah. In their population over the last four or five years. Yeah. Except Wyoming. And they’ve got some c w D issues that had no virus issues Yeah. In fawns that is causing mortality. But everybody was on an uptick. We’re really all holding our breath to wanna to see what the spring Yeah. Spring counts show. I’ve

00:24:31:18 –> 00:24:38:19
Heard, I’ve heard a lot of people say that, you know, even though we, we were scared and, and, but maybe the winter kills not as bad as we all once thought.

00:24:38:21 –> 00:24:59:19
And I think they went into the winter so good. Yeah. In shape. There’s a few areas. Jackson Holes had like 400 inches of snow. Cody. And some of those areas, they’re, they’re gonna take it. Gunnison Basin was really bad in Colorado, but I think now they’ve opened up with this milder winter. They were actually feeding more to keep ’em off the highway Yeah. Than feeding them because they were in bad shape. So,

00:24:59:20 –> 00:25:25:02
So how can the average sportsman get involved Miles and just donate his time? And like some of these things I see, you know, you guys will post, or somebody will post on Instagram or Facebook or something about a, you know, a Mulder project or a capture of different things. And I kind of want my kids involved in those. But I’m also, you know, I, I don’t, I I guess I’ve just, I’m not involved quite enough to know when those things are happening. How can somebody know when those things are happening and the help that you need?

00:25:25:05 –> 00:26:07:10
Well, I, one of the things, all our local chapters in our states or our state chapters have a Facebook page. And when those things that come up, like, we’re Hayward trapping Saturday, and this is like a Wednesday, so subscribe to our local, your local Facebook page for Okay. Or for our, ’cause we always link those to Mule Deer Facebook page. Okay. Yeah. And when and when you become a member, we send bla e-blasts out to people Okay. And say, Hey, we got this project coming up, we need your help. Okay. And so we try to communicate and it’s, and then we’ve got, we’ve got follower 10,000 followers on Instagram. Yeah. It’s cool. We’ve got 5,000 on, on Twitter. We’re trying to build that up. It’s the way everybody communicates now. It is. So if you, if you subscribe to our account to Mule Deer,

00:26:07:13 –> 00:26:10:25
You’re gonna figure some stuff out. Just open your eyes. You’re gonna, there’s opportunity. There’s

00:26:10:25 –> 00:26:11:26
Opportunity Yeah. To

00:26:11:26 –> 00:26:14:16
Involve our kids and just be, make it a family activity or

00:26:14:22 –> 00:26:30:17
Whatever. Yeah. And, and it’s everything from, from planting bitter brush to helping tear out an old fence, to building a guzzler or helping on things like deer trapping. Our volunteers manned all the feeding stations here in Utah. That’s great. I mean, that was almost a hundred percent volunteers.

00:26:30:17 –> 00:27:20:25
Volunteers, yeah. Wow. Yeah. Well, that’s awesome. I I just wanna encourage everybody out there listening. Definitely become a, you know, a member of the Mul Deer Foundation. It’s one of those things that we are coursework critical of different organizations, and we all have opinions on how things should be run and different management practices of division wildlife offices. But, but overall, I’ve gotta say, you know, I’m, I’ve been pleasantly impressed with the, with some of the strides we’ve made, and we just gotta keep working toward that. And we do it with people and we do it with support and help and, and just gotta work together. So anyway, just want to say thanks again, miles for, for joining us here on this podcast. Want to throw a little shout out to Under Armour. Really appreciate them for the sponsoring of the Epic Outdoors Podcast and all that they do for our company, as well as hunting and conservation across the west. So anyway, thanks again, miles. Yeah. Looking forward to it. Let’s do it again.