More than 40 participants who have assisted Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists in a deer mortality study met at Navarino Nature Center in mid-September to hear updates on a deer research program. DNR staff hosted the volunteer appreciation dinner to thank participants from Shawano and surrounding areas and to update them on the status of the projects.

“We want to thank all of the volunteers and landowners for their help with the deer mortality studies over the last three years,” said Dan Storm, deer and elk researcher. “This project wouldn’t be possible without landowner’s permission to capture deer on their land and all the volunteers’ help catching deer.”

Since 2011, more than 1,000 volunteers in two study areas helped researchers locate fawns and capture bucks to equip them with radio collars used to track the deer throughout their lifetime. Researchers are trying to understand the role of predation and hunting in deer population change. The studies take place in a northern, forested area near the town of Winter and eastern farmlands near Shawano.

Volunteers at the event listened to a presentation given by Storm, learned about results and trends from the study and asked questions. The 2013 spring was the last season of capturing and collaring fawns, but the buck mortality study will continue until 2015 with capturing events scheduled for the upcoming winter.

“We are always looking for helping hands each season,” said Storm. “We have a range of groups come to help every year, from interested landowners to school groups looking for an adventurous, hands-on field trip.”

Those interested in volunteering can register at the DNR website by searching keyword “deer research.”

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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