Source: D4K: “Wildlife Management"
Visit the D4K companion Web site to learn more about Wildlife Management: D4K: “Wildlife Management"
This video segment from IdahoPTV's D4K takes you into the field with a wildlife biologist and 2 students as they use a helicopter and nets to capture, radio-collar, weigh and release mule deer fawns. Find out what kind of information the biologists use to manage the deer population.
[BIOLOGIST] We're going to go out today and catch some mule deer fawns for our winter mortality study.
[NARRATOR] At first it sounds like scientific gibberish to Tory and Katy but they are about to find out just how fun and interesting wildlife management can be.
[BIOLOGIST] We're going to use a helicopter to go out and find some mule deer fawns and run them into these big long nets that we've set up.
[CHILD] Will they get hurt?
[BIOLOGIST] Oh no. The nets are designed to fall down as soon as the deer hit them and they're pretty tough. These fawns are bigger than you think. In fact most of them are bigger than you are.
[CHILD] Bigger than I am? I thought those little spotted fawns were puny.
[BIOLOGIST] Well they were last spring when they were born but now it's 6 months later and they might weigh up to 80 or 90 pounds.
[CHILD] What do you do with them?
[BIOLOGIST] Come with me, I'll show you. You guys ready to go to work?
[BIOLOGIST] Sure. We can use all the help we can get.
[CHILD WHISPERING] Will they come right down this strip?
[MAN WHISPERING] It's hard to say. Deer will pretty much come whichever way they want to. He's going to try to guide them with the helicopter into the net.
[BIOLOGIST] Go, go, go! Let's go to work.
Okay, hold onto those forelegs, okay? Put your head right there, okay? Hold that. If it starts moving you push your head down and just squeeze on tight.
[CHILD] What's the collar for?
[BIOLOGIST] We're going to use this radio collar to track where this deer moves. It also has a signal in it that will tell us if it stops moving. And if it stops moving for a period of time, we're going to know that it died and then we can go in and figure out what killed it.
Okay. Hook it right here keep the tension on that. Lift it up. Let's see, pull that off the ground and when it's clear - girls can you read that for me? What does that say?
[BIOLOGIST] 80 pounds. Okay lets put it -
[CHILD] Why are you weighing it?
[BIOLOGIST] We're weighing the fawns because it gives us a pretty good idea of what condition the winter range is in.
[CHILD] About 86.
[CHILD] Wow, it does weigh more than me.
[BIOLOGIST] In fact the weight of the fawn is a pretty good indicator of whether this fawn is going to make it through the winter or not.
Helicopter, we're ready for more.
[NARRATOR] Katy and Tory have become part of the team.
[CHILD WHISPERING] Here they come.
[NARRATOR] Catching the deer, processing the fawns and learning a lot about wildlife management.
[BIOLOGIST] Get them, get them, get them, get them! Go girls!
Okay. Let me go ahead and put this radio collar on now. Can anybody tell me why we do this?
[CHILD] Ummm, so you can keep track of it and tell when it dies?
[CHILD] They're huge and very strong.
[NARRATOR] 25 fawns are captured, collared and released. These animals will be followed throughout the winter and early spring to track how many survive.
[CHILD] How does finding out what kills a deer help you manage deer?
[BIOLOGIST] Some people think that predators are the main reason that fawns die - and sometimes that's true. But we've learned from our research that sometimes fawns are dying from predators because they're weak and malnourished, And that sounds like a habitat problem, not a predator problem.
[CHILD] If it's a habitat problem it would affect the caring capacity of deer, right?
[BIOLOGIST] Whoa! You two really do know your stuff. Say, you two thinking of being biologists someday?
[BIOLOGIST] What did you two learn about wildlife management today?
[CHILD] Well, you guys have to get up really early.
[CHILD] It's cold and it's really hard work.
[CHILDREN IN UNISON] But it's very cool!
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