Throughout December and January, The Idaho Fish & Game will be preparing for a mule deer capture project. This capture project is crucial for the IDFG to perform survival monitoring. During the above-mentioned capture project, IDFG officials will use helicopters to help them radio collar 6-month old mule deer fawns.

Mule deer fawns will be captured with the use of a net gun that will be fired from personnel that will be riding in helicopters. Likewise, some mule deer may also be herded into net capture corrals. However, IDFG has moved toward more net gunning as it ensures a wider sample size.

The Project’s Goal

The goal of this project is to gather data on the overall survival rates of fawns over the winter months. Once the fawns are captured officials will equip the fawns with radio collars that will update the fawns’ location throughout the study. If a fawn dies the radio collar will transmit that and IDFG officials can investigate the fawn’s cause of death. This type of study will help biologists better understand the real causes of young mule deer deaths.

The captured fawns’ will be tested and examined to check their overall health at the time of being caught. This will give officials a good baseline for the overall health of the captured fawns.

“Completing deer fawn radio-collaring by Jan. 15 allows Fish and Game to accurately measure the effects of winter on fawn survival.” – Toby Boudreau, Idaho Fish and Game’s Deer and Elk Coordinator.

Fawn survival determines the long-term mule deer populations trends in an area. Typically, if the fawn survival rate drops below 60%, mule deer populations will see a steady decline until the fawn survival rate increases.

You can read more about this capture project by checking out the IDFG page on it. That page can be reached by clicking here. Also if you’d like you can read about another mule deer study that is happening in Wyoming. You can find that article by clicking here.

What are your thoughts on this project? Have you seen other projects like this work? Let us know in the comments!

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