Temperatures are warming, snow is melting and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is preparing to get outdoors to see how wildlife, mainly deer and elk, and range lands handled the winter.

Between now and late April, division officers will be conducting range rides on critical winter range.The purpose of the rides is to see how wildlife and habitat survived the winter. They will look at overall range conditions, vegetation used, condition of plants, observe the number of dead animals and general conditions of the live animals.

The public is invited along on all rides, but because all rides are taken on horseback, those participating must have their own horse.

Following the rides, division officers will report their findings. This information will then be used in recommendations for this fall's deer and elk hunts to be set by the Utah Board of Big Game Control in early May.

Rides in the Salina area will begin in early April. Rides will end in the Boulder area in early May.

For information on available rides contact one of the DWR offices.

***** The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has signed an agreement with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service that will improve the plight of the Northern Yellowstone elk herd. The agreement establishes a fund to direct national and international aid for the world's largest migratory elk herd.

Bob Munson, executive director of the RMEF, said the primary focus of the fund will be conservation of historical elk winter ranges adjacent to the park. He added that a winter feeding program of the herd is not views by wildlife professionals as a biologically sound, long-term decision.

The elk's winter range in the park has been subjected to fire, drought and heavy use from the large population.