Below is a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding to assist with this research.
Several studies of mule deer and elk on the Front Range have begun with the deployment of satellite GPS collars on adult does (female deer) and cow (female) elk.
The animals will be captured by a professional capture crew using helicopter net guns as well as by Colorado Parks and Wildlife personnel on the ground using immobilization techniques.
The goals of the study are to identify mule deer and elk seasonal ranges, migration corridors, habitat use and future habitat improvement projects.
Deer and elk will be captured in several project areas on winter range east of the Continental Divide, ranging from the Wyoming border down into South Park. Project areas include private land, state and federal lands as well as Jefferson and Boulder County Open Space properties. You may see low flying aircraft in these areas over the next few weeks as crews work on capturing animals in project areas.
The GPS collars will record the positions of each animal for the next three to five years. Daily position updates will be available to biologists via email notifications throughout the study.
If an animal dies during the study, a mortality signal will be sent to the local wildlife biologist who will search for the animal’s carcass, determine the cause of death and collect biological samples.
The studies are the result of many years of planning and a lot of collaboration between CPW, Jefferson and Boulder Counties, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These projects have received generous financial support from collaborative partners listed above, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Department of the Interior Secretarial Order 3362.
(Photo credit: Jason Clay/Colorado Parks and Wildlife)