GPS technology now being used to track deer and study their behavior patterns during hunting season.
As deer hunting season begins, hunters are starting to track deer’s movements in the Pennsylvania area, but they won’t be alone. Researchers are also beginning a study of the local deer’s behavior patterns by using GPS tracking technology.
The study, called the Deer Forest Study, is being conducted by researchers at Penn State and the local Game Commission. It will include 30 deer, each of which have been outfitted with GPS tracking devices in the form of collars. These collars are going to be controlled with the help of text messages sent to the tracking devices. The devices will record the location and movements of the deer in real-time.
Researchers are hoping to learn more about the location of deer during hunting season and throughout other times of the year, including their behavioral habits and their movements.
This comes in part due to the suspicion that deer are now turning nocturnal and only coming out at night. But it is just a suspicion, which will soon be verified with the help of the GPS tracking study. Researchers also want to know their behavior in hunting season specifically, including how the hunting pressure affects their movements and what areas they relocate to.
The supervisor of the deer and elk section of Game Commission, Christopher Rosenberry, told reporters this wouldn’t be the first time they used radio collars, but are hoping for better results by including GPS technology in the collars. In the past, they captured deer in nets and put on radio collars, but would need to trigger and release the collar remotely. Researchers would have to go out into the forest and find the collars to download the information. But now with the new text-version of the GPS radio collars, they can get the data immediately just by sending a text message to the collar. With a simple text, they receive the current location of the deer.
Rosenberry reported that the researchers want to find out how many of the deer remain in their study area during the hunting season. They began the study in the spring and will continue through the fall and winter hunting season. He told reporters:
“It’s the same as the GPS unit in your car except it records that location. For example, throughout the summer and last spring, it (the frequency) was every five hours. We bumped it up in the fall to every three hours, and we’ll go every 20 minutes during the gun season,” Rosenberry said.
Researchers also want to know how the population of deer affects local impacts of the forest, including the harvest rates and forest vegetation. The study areas are parts of the local forest where hunters have registered that will go hunting. They will also find out the longest distance that deer tend to roam.
Now that Fall is upon us, the leaves have changed and fallen, the fields have been harvested, and old man winter is not close behind. But is also the season for hunting. Fall is typically a calm season, and that combined with the cooler weather, makes it ideal for hunting.
Unfortunately, hunting can also be dangerous for both the hunter and the dogs they choose to bring out in the wild. With GPS tracking technology however, hunters have the ability to utilize advanced technology to track their location and their hunting dogs (in the event that they wander off) for added safety.
GPS Tracking for Hunters
GPS tracking is incredibly useful for hunters and is easy for them to carry every time they leave for the wilderness and the solitude it provides. GPS tracking not only benefits the hunters, but their friends and family who can follow their location remotely. All the hunter needs to do is have a personal and portable GPS tracking device. Anything can happen during hunting, including becoming lost. If the family member suspects something amiss, they can contact authorities to help track them down.
It is also used for the hunter’s safety as many GPS tracking devices have an internal alarm and alert system built right in. They can press the alarm button, which sends an automatic alert to a computer or cell phone, such as their family at home. They know right away to send help to the hunter. If a hunter gets injured while in the woods, the GPS tracking alert is useful as they might only have a moment to press the alarm button. Another benefit to this alert alarm is that the hunter’s mobile phone might be out of service when tucked away deep in the woods.
GPS Tracking for Hunting Dogs
The benefits to using GPS tracking during hunting season extend to hunting dogs. Hunting dogs are at risk of wandering off and also becoming lost. In fact, when they get a scent another animal nearby, they are very likely to run to chase it. Even well-trained hunting dogs have been known to disappear for hours and not give up. To protect their dogs, hunters should consider placing a GPS tracking collar on their dogs — just in case the dog has been gone a little too long for comfort.
Having the use of a GPS device doesn’t mean the hunter shouldn’t still be cautious. They are advised to know the area before they venture out, whether alone or with their dogs. Hunters are encouraged to bring weather-appropriate clothing, a first aid kit in case of emergencies, and plenty of water and snacks. Additionally, experienced hunters should know that if they become lost, they must stop immediately until they get a handle on their location, rather than wandering off even further.
A monstrous iceberg that could threaten islands near Antarctica and potentially enter shipping lanes is being tracked using GPS technology.
Researchers in the United Kingdom are on high alert due to a huge iceberg eight times the size of Manhattan. With Manhattan nearly 34 square miles in terms of land and water, that’s a gigantic iceberg for sure. In fact, the iceberg is measuring roughly 270 square miles.
The iceberg is currently in the southern part of the ocean in Antarctica, moving through the Drake Passage. While it is still in the ocean for now, researchers worry that it could become a major emergency if it reaches land. It is already at risk of entering nearby shipping lanes.
In July of this year, the iceberg broke away from the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. Researchers have proposed a six month project and have been awarded £50,000 to fund the project. They will track the movement of the iceberg and predict its movement as it glides through the Southern Ocean.
“From the time it had been ground that the crack had gone all the way across in July, it had stayed iced-in because it was still winter in Antarctica. But in the last couple of days, it has begun to break away and now a kilometer or two of clear water has developed between it and the glacier. An aircraft belonging to NASA was the first to see the crack in 2011 when it first began expanding along the Pine Island Glacier,“ said Grant Bigg, professor and principal investigator from the University of Sheffield.
The iceberg has already begun traveling through the body of water between Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands and Cape Horn in South America, called The Drake Passage. If it continues down its path, it could enter international shipping lanes soon.
Based on previous icebergs of similar size, researchers worry that the iceberg will start moving westwards toward the coast, or even worse, go outward toward the Southern Ocean and enter the Circumpolar Current. This current has had disastrous consequences in the past, including causing a cruise ship to sink. Even if it moves into warmer waters where it can begin melting, the iceberg is so large it is still at risk of entering the very busy shipping lanes.
Through two GPS tracking devices attached to the iceberg by the British Antarctic Survey, a GPS tracking project is looking at the movement of the iceberg and attempting to predict where it will go next. This includes measuring the wind fields that have been prevalent in this area and put it at an even greater risk of changing directions. The research team expects to predict and follow the iceberg’s location for the next 12 months minimum.
If the monstrous iceberg does show signs of moving toward or into shipping lanes, then a warning could be issued to give notice of the hazard.