SC Researchers Ask Local Farmers and Hunters to Report Tagged Deer

Release Date: 
November 18, 2009

More than 100 deer in the area have numbers on their heads, and they aren't price tags. The numbers are printed on yellow ear tags and were placed on deer on the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge during the fall and winter of 2007/2008 by researchers from Kansas State University and student volunteers from Sterling College. Each captured deer was assigned a unique number and tagged on each ear. In a study aimed at documenting the dispersal of this deer population, Sterling College researchers are asking the public to report any deer with yellow tags that are sighted or harvested away from the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. The tag number, sex, and specific location of the deer should be reported to Dr. Jonathan Conard at jconard@sterling.edu or 620-278-4243. Even if the ear-tag number cannot be read, the sex and/or size of the animal may be helpful to the researchers for identification.
The aim of this study is to document deer dispersal from Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. During dispersal younger deer (usually fawns or yearlings) move away from the range in which they were born to establish a new range in a different geographic location. While many of the deer tagged during 2007/2008 have remained in the vicinity of Quivira, it is possible others may have traveled long distances. Studies in other states have shown that deer may migrate or disperse between 1 and 100 miles. A study in the late 1960s that followed the movements of 19 mule deer in northwest Kansas found that deer moved an average of 51 miles during dispersal. Since then deer populations have increased dramatically and it is suspected that deer movement patterns have changed. The research study on the dispersal of the deer population tagged during 2007/2008 is part of a larger study on deer movement patterns.