Michigan State University's 3-year study will focus on deer populations in Clinton, Ionia, Ingham and Shiawassee counties. From January to May of each year, male and female white-tailed deer will be captured and briefly sedated by highly-trained field staff. Each deer will be fitted with the latest in GPS collar technology, specifically designed for use on white-tailed deer. Additionally, each deer will be equipped with uniquely numbered ear tags, allowing researchers to identify deer from a distance. All captured deer will be released at the same location they were initially caught.
The collars allow our researchers to track the movement and survival of each deer for up to 2 years. Location data is captured for each deer every 30 minutes, allowing us to map their movements at a very fine scale.
2018 Field Season Update
Between January and May of 2018, 28 male and 45 female white-tailed deer were equipped with global positioning (GPS) collars within 5 townships of central Michigan; Dewitt, Eagle, Meridian, Watertown, and Williamston. These townships expand a developmental gradient from rural areas dominated by agriculture to suburban sprawls. Trapping efforts focused around areas where CWD-positive deer have been documented on the landscape.
We collared 36 fawns (8-11 months old), 12 yearlings (20-23 months old), and 25 adults (24+ months old). Deer also received yellow, uniquely numbered ear tags. We are able to monitor collared deer in real-time using GPS satellite technology, and will continue to track movement and survival of each deer for up to 2 years. As of July 2018, 57 deer remain "on air" (i.e. collared and currently transmitting data). Deer stop transmitting data for a variety of reasons, including thrown collars (an issue with young bucks), battery malfunction (rare), hunter harvest and deer-vehicle collisions. All collars are equipped with a remote-enabled release mechanism that allows us to safely remove the collar at the end of data collection.