Alabama hunters have been instructed not to hunt white-tailed deer with orange collars. There are two types of collars on white-tailed deer this year. One is brown and the other is orange. Hunters may shoot those with brown collars.
Why the restriction? The 30 deer with orange collars are gathering GPS tracking data as part of a study being conducted by Auburn University. There are 60 deer wearing brown collars that are equipped with VHF radio transmitters. These collars represent two different studies.
The brown collars are part of a study tracking mortality rates in the deer population from natural causes and humans (cars, hunting, etc.). Organizers want hunters who encounter deer with brown collars to shoot the deer if they would normally do so and to pass the deer up if that would be their normal course of action for that particular deer.
The orange collars, though, are part of a different study investigating the movement patterns of the deer. They are also investigating how hunting pressure forces deer to change their natural movement patterns.
While there are still 16 months remaining on the research project, there have been some surprising discoveries already that may impact the way Alabama manages deer herds in the future.
GPS tracking has revealed that deer do, in fact, avoid areas in which hungers use stands. The average time for avoidance of an area where hunters use stands is typically three days though they are less likely to use it even after five days have passed and continue to be less likely to visit than before the stand was hunted.
What does this mean for hunters? It means unpredictability is the real secret to success when it comes to choosing locations for hunting deer.
Mating practices of deer have also proven to be surprising according to the study. While some may have previously thought that it was about the age of the deer or the size of its rack, the fact is that the size of the deer, which is often related to the age of the deer, is a primary indicator in breeding.
Larger deer, those that are typically 2.5 to 3.5 years of age, are the more prolific breeders in a herd. However, in herds with larger populations of smaller, or younger as the case may be, deer than the larger deer, the smaller deer will breed more frequently, but without constraint. For the purposes of herd management, the larger, older deer, make the better option for controlling population and providing deer with better genetic quality.
The bottom line is that GPS tracking is instrumental in helping make important discoveries about animal habits, populations, and how humans impact them all. This provides important information to hunters and conservationists alike.
Did you know that you can track Live weather events in the Live View GPS Live Trac Portal?
Here’s a screen capture of one of the largest storm’s about to hit California in the last 10 years…It’s a few hours away from Southern California.