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Testing Releasable GPS Radiocollars on Wolves and White-tailed Deer

by:
Samuel B. Merrill 1, Layne G. Adams 2, Michael E. Nelson 3,
L. David Mech 4

Abstract: We tested prototype GPS collars on 8 free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus) and 3 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) for varying periods between February and August 1997. We programmed the 920-gm collars to make a location attempt 6-96 times per day. The collars were designed to be remotely released from the animal and the data were then downloaded to a desktop computer. The collars produced 47-1,549 locations each during 11-41 days; locations were successful in 26-95% of the attempts ( Mean = 70% ). Eight collars released successfully. Three collar-release failures were caused by condensation. Two collars had GPS antennas that were improperly attached and did not collect data. Life was as long as, or longer than, expected in 4 collars, less than expected in 5 collars, and unknown in 2 collars. Limitations of this type of collar include brief life if programmed at short location-attempt intervals (≤1 hr), and possible drop-off failure. Nevertheless, the large volume of data we collected with no field telemetry effort demonstrates the potential for this type of GPS collar to answer questions about movements of medium-sized mammals.

Key words: Alaska, GPS, location data, Minnesota, movements, satellites, telemetry, white-tailed deer, wolves.


This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication LDM0163):
Merrill, Samuel B., Layne G. Adams, Michael E. Nelson, and L. David Mech.  
     1998. Testing Releasable GPS Radiocollars on Wolves and White-tailed 
     Deer.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 26(4):830-835.
This resource should be cited as:
Merrill, Samuel B., Layne G. Adams, Michael E. Nelson, and L. David Mech.  
     1998. Testing Releasable GPS Radiocollars on Wolves and White-tailed 
     Deer.  Wildlife Society Bulletin 26(4):830-835.  Jamestown, ND: 
     Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/mammals/radiotst/index.htm 
     (Version 18NOV99).

Table of Contents


1Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Training Site Environmental Office, P. O. Box 150, Little Falls, MN 56345
2Alaska Biological Science Center, Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, 1011 E. Tudor Rd., Anchorage, AK 99503
3Midcontinent Ecological Science Center, Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, 4512 McMurray Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80525-3400
4Midcontinent Ecological Science Center, Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, 4512 McMurray Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80525-3400

Contact:
Samuel B. Merrill
Environmental Office
Post Headquarters, Camp Ripley
15000 Highway 115
Little Falls, MN 56345-4173
Phone: 320-632-7635
Fax: 320-632-7702
e-mail: samuel.merrill@dnr.state.mn.us
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