JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — New research indicates that increasing hunting pressure on mountain lions to help a struggling mule deer population in western Wyoming may not be working as intended.

Research from Panthera suggests that lion hunters tend to kill older cougars, which happen to be specialists at feeding on elk. However, the numbers of younger lions that tend to eat deer are largely left unchanged.

The findings are published in the latest edition of the academic journal of Conservation Science and Practice.

Nearly four dozen mountain lions can be legally hunted annually in areas surrounding the Wyoming and Salt River ranges. It's thought that fewer lions would help boost the deer population.