Colorado wildlife officials take flight to study Middle Park deer herds |

Colorado wildlife officials take flight to study Middle Park deer herds

Tonya Bina
Grand County, Colorado
mule deer collaring

Granby, Colorado ” The Colorado Division of Wildlife is continuing efforts to monitor mule deer in Middle Park.

On Monday, the division began its 2008-2009 program that keeps tabs on deer populations.

As part of the study, a contracted helicopter crew will be capturing mule deer, according to DOW spokesperson Randy Hampton, the purpose of which is to fit radio collars on animals.

In Middle Park this year, 28 more does and 60 more fawns will receive radio collars, Hampton said, resulting in a total of 150 radio-collared deer.

Radio-collared animals are then monitored weekly throughout the winter.

The collar alerts DOW officials when an animal dies, prompting a cause-of-death investigation. The information is used to estimate survival rates and can influence DOW feeding operations during harsh winters.

The information also aids in population modeling. “It makes our science more accurate,” Hampton said.

The DOW began monitoring Middle Park mule deer populations in 1998. Since then, mule deer populations have been increasing.

Animals are captured by a nylon net shot over them from a low-flying helicopter. They are then collared and released.

“Experience has shown this type of capture to be efficient and safe,” Hampton said.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail

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