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(Neb)-Mule Deer Collar Program In Second Year

By: John Axtell Posted at: 03/11/2019 10:57 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Game and Parks says 120 female mule deer in the state are wearing GPS monitoring devices for the second year of a research study designed to aid in the management of mule deer populations in high- and low-density areas of the state.

     Game and Parks biologists and volunteers from the UNL School of Natural Resources recently worked with a helicopter capture crew to catch the deer in four study areas, two in the northwest and two in the southwest. The same chopper crew had earlier caught and tagged bighorn sheep

    UNL professor Dr John Benson, the leader of the study, says the GPS devices allow remote monitoring via satellite to provide valuable data on the movement and habitat use of mule deer. They also allow researchers to locate the deer on the ground to investigate possible deaths and other important events.

      Benson calls it "an amazing opportunity" to obtain intensive data from different population densities and environmental conditions to help determine survival rates and factors influencing mortality, habitat use, home range size and movements of adult female and fawn mule deer.

        Benson says the information will help researchers understand the population dynamics and habitat relationships that result in these different densities, which will have important implications for management of mule deer in Nebraska and should contribute broadly to understanding factors that limit mule deer populations across their range.

      The capture operation included DNA sampling, blood draws, weighing, and other measurements along with an ultrasound to determine body condition and whether the does were pregnant. They will be closely monitored this spring and early summer so newborn fawns can be captured and collared soon after they are born.

      Game and Parks southwest district wildlife division manager Lance Hastings says the capture project and other research could not happen without the support of landowners who provide access for the captures and monitoring. Video of the mule deer capture is available on the NGPC YouTube channel.


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