Big Game Migration Inquiry Project

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The purpose of this project is to provide users an opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of Wyoming species and ecosystem relationships through using the WyoBio map application.

Use this site as a step by step inquiry project, to provoke critical thinking and questioning.  Resources are provided (as are some results) to enable users to delve as deeply as desired. Keep in mind that there is not a single right answer to questions about resource management, as individuals and organizations bring different perspectives to the solution of biodiversity problems.

Progress through the scientific process of inquiry and enjoy!  

Background Information:

Wyoming is home to the longest recorded migration in the lower 48 (Sawyer et al., 2014). As a growing area of interest; current research and GIS initiatives are able to begin to understand migration here in Wyoming.  Migrations such as, the Antelope and Mule deer in the Red Desert, Big Horn sheep In the GYE, and Moose and Elk throughout the Wind River, Teton and Yellowstone areas. These Big Game animals provide livelihoods, jobs and economic growth to the state of Wyoming through hunting, research, and tourism while recently becoming a vested interest of many groups.  

Understanding more about these animal's migration patterns has allowed researchers to understand the complexity of wildlife movement on diverse land management systems.  Some of these animals will move across private, BLM, Forest Service, NPS and Wilderness areas all within one migration. Due to these reasons Wyoming has created the first federally protected wildlife migration corridor for Antelope in western Wyoming (see: https://vimeo.com/78590437).

Use this inquiry project to find out more about migration in your local area! 

Scientific Process:


Are there any Big Game migration routes near my home?

Follow-up questions: If so, are there any barriers impeding their migration?

Do they travel on private, or public land?


Alternative: There are multiple barriers to migration near Laramie, WY.*

Null: There are no barriers to migration near Laramie, WY for Big Game animals.

*Note this is the test hypothesis used for this example and can be easily changed to any other region in the state.  The result map would just be adjusted to where the study is being focused. 

Design and Data Collection:

Follow the link below to WyoBio's map page where you can use the different layers and search processes to see and interact with how migrations are impacted in your local area.

How to find migration information on WyoBio:

1. Migrations can be found by clicking on the map layers icon, then selecting Big Game & Sage-grouse.  From there expand this layer and click on the Big Game Migration and critical habitat layers.

2. Many more map layers are available to overlay. You may be especially interested in Administrative Boundaries and Human Disturbance layers.

WyoBio Map

Analysis and Conclusions:

Follow the link below for potential results.  Remember you may have come up with something else.  This is just one result from the findings used in this analysis for the Laramie area.



Now that you have answered some questions related to migration of Big Game animals in you area; do you know of any local organizations working to collaborate on the issue?  Have you seen any of these migrations in action? If not, take a field trip, see what the terrain is like for these species. How have humans impacted (both positively or negatively) the migrations you studied?


Sawyer, H., M.Hayes, B. Rudd, and M.J. Kauffman. 2014, The Red Desert to Hoback Mule Deer Migration Assessment. Wyoming Migration Initiative, University of Wyoming , Laramie, WY.


Wyoming  Migration Initative: website devoted to big game migration issues in Wyoming

A short video of big game migration in Wyoming and the importance of Wilderness areas.

Mule Deer Migration Report