WDFW to use helicopters to capture mule deer in two Central Washington counties
by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff
SPOKANE- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will conduct mule deer captures from helicopters starting in mid-January. These captures will take place in Chelan and Klickitat counties along the east slope of the Cascade Mountains.
Contracted professional crews will capture approximately 20 adult female mule deer in each area using humane methods to make the captures as safe as possible for both deer and humans. This work is being done through a long-term partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior to bolster mule deer conservation efforts in Washington under Secretarial Order 3362- Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big-Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors.
The deer will be fitted with GPS satellite collars to track their movement and migration patterns and allow biologists to learn more about how deer use their habitat.
“In Eastern Washington, there are many issues impacting mule deer habitat that could affect deer populations in the future,” said WDFW ungulate section manager Kyle Garrison. “Information gathered from the collared deer will be used to assess the movements of the animals and help prioritize habitat conservation and management efforts.”
Each animal will be collared and released on site it is captured. The collars are programmed to drop off the deer after four years and will be retrieved by WDFW staff.
“In recent years, mule deer have lost winter habitat in the study areas to human development and remaining habitat has declined in quality due to factors such as drought, wildfire, and invasive plant species,” said Garrison.
Mule deer are present in Washington from the crest of the Cascade Mountains east to the Idaho border, providing hunting and viewing opportunities for thousands of people each year.
WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.
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