It’s Twelve O’Clock, Do You Know Where Your Deer Are?

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Idaho Fish and Game biologists are keeping track of their state’s mule deer with intermittent cell tower tracking, reports the Coeur d’Alene Press.  Unlike traditional collars, the solar powered ear tags do not rely on an internal battery to create a signal.  Instead, the GPS tag will note deer movements by recording their location every 30 minutes.

“From a management perspective, we are trying to figure out how we can optimize hunting without over-harvesting our bucks,” said Fish and Game’s Wildlife Research Manager Mark Hurley. The tags will allow the state to monitor the deer population and coordinate it with hunting data.  

Not only are the ear tags easier to use than telemetry collars, they are also less stressful on the deer. Particularly with male deer, whose size can change dramatically as they grow to adulthood, the ear marker will never become too tight.  The tags are also solar charged. This method of tracking incorporates a mortality signal as well, notifying officials if no movement is detected.

On the downside, relying on a cell signal in an area without a multitude of towers means that sometimes the deer will effectively have no bars.  The tags will store data, however, and transmit it when an animal wanders back within range of a cell tower. Idaho officials anticipate that hunters will return the ear tags when they find them.  Comments? Email Us.

April 30, 2019

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