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UW Documentary Film ‘Deer 139’ to Premiere Online March 20

March 16, 2021
three people hiking down a hillside
Tennessee Watson, from left, Anya Tyson and Sam Dwinnell hike through western Wyoming in a scene from the documentary film “Deer 139.” The University of Wyoming-produced documentary film will premiere online Saturday, March 20. (Morgan Heim Photo)

After a successful year and a half on the film festival and screening circuit, the University of Wyoming’s 55-minute science, adventure and conservation documentary film, “Deer 139,” will premiere online on the spring equinox.

Viewers are invited to join the premiere on YouTube at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 20. A live question-and-answer session with the film’s team will follow the premiere at 7:55 p.m. via a Zoom webinar. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, and to access the documentary film, visit www.uwyo.edu/haub/ruckelshaus-institute/outreach/deer-139.html.

The film will be freely available on YouTube to watch following the premiere event.

“Deer 139” tells the story of three women who brave the formidable migratory journey of a pregnant mule deer. The team hikes, packrafts and skis for 85 miles across western Wyoming and, along the way, the women gain deeper understanding about the connection wild animals have to the landscapes they call home.

“I’m excited to put this film out there so as many people as possible can see what mule deer face in their migrations and, hopefully, gain some appreciation for how important big, connected landscapes are for these wild animals,” says Sam Dwinnell, the lead character in the film.

Dwinnell, along with Associate Professor Kevin Monteith and Communications Coordinator Emilene Ostlind, all in the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, produced the film. Filmmakers Morgan Heim and Jayme Dittmar directed the documentary. In addition to Dwinnell as the main character, the film stars Tennessee Watson, a reporter for Wyoming Public Media; Anya Tyson, a recovering field tech who specializes in collaborative conservation and citizen science; and Deer 139 herself.

The Monteith Shop focuses on understanding what influences individual animals’ behavior, growth, reproduction and survival in a changing world. Deer 139 herself is part of the lab’s Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project. This research centers on tracking mule deer throughout their lives to uncover aspects of mule deer behavior, life history and population dynamics that have direct implications for conservation.

The Monteith Shop and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources produced the film to advance their mission to share new scientific understanding with a broad audience, and to advance understanding and resolution of complex environment and natural resource challenges. Wyoming Public Media also supported the film’s production.

The film received funding support from the National Geographic Society; the George B. Storer Foundation; the Knobloch Family Foundation; Ralph and Louise Haberfeld; the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation; the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation; the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition; and the Wyoming Humanities Council.

Also providing support were the Muley Fanatic Foundation, including the Wyoming Range Chapter and the 10 Country Wyoming Chapter; the No Man’s Land Film Festival; the WILD Foundation; William Watson and Suzanne Welch; the Wyoming Migration Initiative; and several private contributors.

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