STAFF BLOG COMPASS POINTS WITH BRAD DOKKEN DNR plans aerial deer, elk surveys in northwest Minnesota
This past weekends blizzard should be good news for wildlife crews from the Department of Natural Resources, who are planning to conduct helicopter deer surveys in parts of northwest Minnesota and els... Posted on 1/14/13 at 11:42 AM
OUTDOORS WITH SAM COOK Hunters: Don't shoot research bears
Hunters participating in this falls bear hunt, which opens Wednesday, should avoid shooting radio-collared or ear-tagged bears, say Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials.
It is... Posted on 8/31/10 at 2:26 PM
Last winter, almost all of the deer in the study made extensive movements, mostly to wintering areas with thicker cover. This year, the collared deer didn’t move much at all, and no mortality has been recorded.
According to Bill Jensen, big game biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck, a helicopter crew trapped and fitted VHF radio-collars on the 40 adult does in late February. The study area is located in deer hunting Unit 2C and covers about 500 square miles, Jensen said. Most of the research area is in Walsh County, although it also dips into Grand Forks County, he said.
According to Dr. Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the deer — eight does and one buck — are in a farmland-forest transition zone. The study aims to learn more about where the deer spend their time and how their habitat preferences change throughout the year.
According to Jay Huseby, wildlife director for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, the grant will allow the tribe to purchase 10 GPS collars to track timber wolves on tribal lands and learn more about the types of habitat they prefer.
The DNR and the University of Minnesota are partnering on the pilot study in an effort to learn more about the movements of deer in an area with a mix of farmland and forested habitat. The 140-square-mile area near Fourtown and Grygla, Minn., is similar to the core of a minor bovine tuberculosis outbreak that occurred in 2005 near Skime, Minn., a few miles to the north.
A helicopter crew last February captured 50 whitetail does in south-central North Dakota and fitted them with the radio-collars as part of a study to learn more about deer survival, deer mortality and harvest rates.
As part of the study, a helicopter crew will capture 18 deer — 12 does and six bucks — from the air and transport them to a nearby handling site where the animals will be fitted with radiocollars. The collars, which cost about $2,500 each, will record the animals’ locations every 90 minutes and relay the data by satellite to the research team each week.
From bears with GPS collars to walleyes with colored tags, several studies are under way across the region
Sometimes — much of the time, actually — the work is fodder for student research that eventually will become a master’s or doctoral thesis. Other times, it’s just an effort to learn more about why fish and wildlife respond to the natural world the way they do.
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