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Use of Solar-Powered Ear-Tag Transmitters to Monitor Movements and Survival of White-Tailed Deer

Christopher S. Rosenberry, Richard A. Lancia, Fisheries and Wildlife Program, North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC 27695 USA, and Mark C. Conner, Dupont Agricultural Products, Chestertown MD 21620 USA

Traditionally, neck collars have been used to attach radio-transmitters to white-tailed deer. However, this is often problematic when attaching collars to males because of the need for a collar which will accommodate growth and changes in neck size. To avoid this problem, ear-tag transmitters (Advanced Telemetry Systems) were used to monitor movements and survival of yearling males at Chesapeake Farms (formerly Remington Farms), Maryland. During the three year study, 75 male fawns, ages 4 to 10 months, were captured and transmittered. Detection ranges of approximately 3 km and 5 km were common for ground-based and aerial telemetry systems, respectively. Transmitter retention was the primary problem encountered. While many variables are likely to affect transmitter retention, transmitter retention was related to the weight of the transmitters. Forty-one transmitters were weighed. Weights of dropped transmitters (Mean of X = 22.11g, n = 15) and retained transmitters (Mean of X = 24.63g; n=26) were significantly different (P = 0.0001). Additional information will be presented including signal quality under varying light conditions, delectability of battery powered mortality signals, and attachment methods.

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