The Department of Natural Resources is undertaking a massive effort to study the life and movement of Wisconsin’s deer herd. The agency began using helicopters this week to track and capture deer living around Shawano and Rusk Counties.
DNR spokesman Bob Manwell says the helicopters are being used to move deer into an open area, where crews then fire a net down to capture them. The animals are then air lifted to a processing center, where researchers check the general health of the animals. The animals will then be fitted with radio collars and releasing them.
Manwell says it’s part of a five year research effort to learn more about deer and their causes of death, which will help fine tune population estimating techniques used by the DNR.
The DNR hopes to tag up to 90 deer. Manwell says adult males are the main target, although they hope to bring in females as well. He says does will be given an ultrasound to determine if they are pregnant. If they are, they will be fitted with a special transmitter that will send a signal after they give birth. In the spring, Manwell says they plan to catch and tag those fawns to help track their first year of life.
Manwell says hunters should not be worried about shooting any deer that have been fitted with transmitters. He says that information is also part of the research effort, so the agency can gain an understanding of what impact hunting seasons have on the deer population.