The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife kick-started a research project last month to study the movements of whitetail deer.

According to The Columbian, the $400,000 study will occur over the next 3-1/2 years to give researchers an inside look on the changing ranges and mortality of the deer. Nearly 100 deer are slated to be tagged with research equipment for the program, 70 have already been captured.

The project entered its preliminary stages last year and allowed researchers a chance to follow 35 of the animals as they roamed across the breadth of Washington. One doe covered roughly 7,600 acres of land during the year. Normally whitetails have short home ranges, but biologists are seeing some far travelers in the new study.

“It’s somewhat surprising to see how far some whitetails were migrating from summer to winter ranges,” said researcher Woody Myers.

The Department is recruiting around 70 volunteers in addition to the scientific staff for the project who will help trap and monitor the deer. If successful, the study should produce data on the animal’s mating habits, habitat preference, survival rates, and migration patterns.

Image from GlacierNPS on the flickr Creative Commons

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