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Fawn searches provide opportunity to play an important role in Wisconsin deer research

Published by Central Office May 9, 2017

Contact(s): Caitlin Henning, DNR Office of Applied Science, 608-221-6346; Dan Storm, DNR ungulate research ecologist, 715-365-4712; Mike Watt, DNR deer research scientist,608-333-1839

MADISON -- Fawning season for Wisconsin's white-tailed deer is nearly here, and Department of Natural Resources staff needs help from volunteers to place radio collars on newborn fawns in southwest Wisconsin.

Most fawns are born in late May and early June, and once again volunteers will be vital in reaching the department's goal of 100 collared fawns in 2017. Volunteers work alongside DNR search teams in southwest Wisconsin on foot to find fawns hidden in grassy fields and wooded underbrush.

Volunteers assist DNR staff in placing radio collars on fawns.
Volunteers are needed to assist DNR staff in placing radio collars on newborn fawns.
Photo Credit: DNR

This process is very labor-intensive, but also an incredibly unique experience for anyone interested in Wisconsin's wildlife. Volunteers can hold a wide range of duties, and will also have numerous opportunities to take photos and spot other wildlife in the area.

"Mother deer do not make our job easy, they like to hide their fawns in thick underbrush or in dense grassy fields--fawns remain motionless, depending on their natural camouflage to stay hidden," said Dan Storm, DNR ungulate research ecologist. "We have to do a lot of walking to find them and rely on strength in numbers with help from volunteers. It is a lot of fun to find fawns and we get key information regarding fawn survival from these efforts."

Does like to hide fawns in thick underbrush or in dense grassy fields.
Does like to hide fawns in thick underbrush or in dense grassy fields.
Photo Credit: DNR

Once found, fawns are fitted with expandable radio collars that will monitor survival during their first year of life. The collars are designed to expand as the deer grows and eventually drop off around its first birthday. This will be the first fawn capture of the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Study, which is part of Gov. Scott Walker's CWD initiative.

Anyone over the age of 12 may participate in fawn searches - those under the age of 18 must have an adult present during volunteer activities. Interested volunteers can sign through an online form or via telephone at 608-935-1940. Sessions will take place between May 18 and June 4, 2017.

People who would like to contribute to fawn searching efforts from the comfort of their own home are encouraged to notify DNR staff at 608-935-1940 if they see a fawn within the study area.

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 09, 2017

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