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DNR continues fawn research by implementing GPS collars to track deer trends

A fawn with a GPS collar in southern Minnesota.
A fawn with a GPS collar in southern Minnesota.((KBJR/CBS 3))
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 4:56 PM CDT
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SOUTHERN MINNESOTA (KBJR) -- Wildlife researchers taking their study on fawn mortality rates to the next level.

The Minnesota DNR’s research began back in 2019 when they used drones to locate fawns in southern Minnesota.

Beginning in 2021, researchers began the next phase where they put GPS collars on 75 baby deer in that same part of the state.

Researchers use these collars to track deer movement, habitat preferences, and causes of death.

Experts are continuing the study this year, adding that it goes beyond just understanding current deer population trends.

“So we really just wanted to get an updated perimeter essence of survival, looking at causes of mortality, to make it a better idea of what’s happening here and this can better inform the deer population model which then can inform those harvest regulations each year,” said Tyler Obermoller, a DNR wildlife biologist working on the study.

The last fawn study conducted in Minnesota was more than 20 years ago which means predator population and land use could have significantly changed.

The collars are designed to break off after 18 months and send researchers data on their location if they haven’t moved in several hours.

This year is the second of the three-year study. If all goes well, the study could be replicated in other areas around Minnesota’s farmland region.

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