Fawning season is approaching, and researchers will rely on plenty of volunteer help to collar newborn fawns. Most fawns are born between the last week of May and the first week of June, and we will depend on the contribution of volunteers to reach our goal of 100 fawns collared.
Volunteers will join DNR search teams in Grant, Iowa and Dane Counties. Each day, we will comb targeted fawning areas – on foot – for a few hours to find newborns hidden in grassy fields and wooded underbrush. Once found, fawns are fitted with expandable radio collars that will monitor their movements and survival during their first year of life. The collars are designed to expand as the deer grows and eventually drop off as the animal reaches its first birthday.
This will be the first fawn capture of the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Study. We collar fawns to help estimate recruitment rates, the proportion of fawns that survive to reproduce. Recruitment is a primary influence in deer population growth. Predators can affect fawn survival, as can malnutrition, vehicle collisions and other underlying environmental influences. Our study will look at how all these factors interact to affect recruitment and deer population health.
Fawn collaring is very labor intensive, and volunteers are critical to accomplishing our study goals. Volunteers may be as involved as they choose in the process, handling and helping project staff to weigh and collar the fawns. This is also a great opportunity to take photos and spot other wildlife in the area.
Anyone over the age of 12 may participate, though minors under 18 must have an adult accompany them. Even those who don’t join the fawn search can get involved in the study by notifying us if they see a fawn in the study area.
Want to volunteer with the fawn capture? Sign up online or by calling (608) 935-1940.