Solar-Powered Ear Tags Help Monitor Mule Deer

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The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is using “green” power, but not where you might expect it. Mule deer bucks currently roaming the backcountry are sporting solar-powered ear tags that allow biologists to track their movements without worrying about draining a battery in a telemetry collar.

Biologists hope the information from this study will allow them to determine how hunting seasons affect the movement of mule deer bucks, and how wildlife managers influence mortality with the hunting season, said Mark Hurley, IDFG wildlife research manager.

“From a management perspective, we are trying to figure out how we can we optimize hunting without over-harvesting our bucks,” Hurley said.

During the hunting season, the ear tags will record and save locations of tagged bucks every 30 minutes, and that information will be transmitted remotely via existing cellular networks to a Fish and Game database when cell service is available. If cell service isn’t available during one or more of those 30 minute intervals, the location information will be stored locally on a memory card and transmitted the next time the device has service.

Go here to read more about this new technology and how it benefits wildlife management.

(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)