In an attempt to assess the survivability of local newborn deer, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks biologists have kicked their collaring project into high gear. The program aims to collar around 150 newborn fawns, arming state wildlife officials with pertinent information they will use to determine population estimates and the number of tags the state issues to hunters.
Researchers set out into the Black Hills region of South Dakota early in the month and collar their first fawn of the year on June 6. Biologists utilize a number of different tactics to locate does they believe to have a fawn or fawns close by, using a number of physical and behavioral cues to help them locate newborn deer.
Once located, biologists are quick to safely collar the animal and to provide as little disturbance as possible to the fawn, its mother and the surrounding environment. The collars affixed to the fawns are designed to deteriorate over time and eventually come loose and are discarded by the fawn as it grows.
Researchers then set out to retrieve the discarded collars and derive the valuable information from the small transponders located within what is left of the collar.
This information is a large piece of an even bigger puzzle that can often be hard to complete without data retrieved from projects like this. Despite the high associated costs with performing such a study, wildlife officials believe it to be an important part of the on-going conservation of one of South Dakota’s most popular game species.
H/T: Sioux City Journal