NCW — Wildlife officials will soon capture and collar mule deer in Chelan, Okanogan and Kittitas counties to study migration and land use.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will capture about 50 adult female mule deer in each county, the department said Thursday in a news release.
“The information gained from these studies will be used to assess the movements of each population and help prioritize habitat conservation and management efforts in eastern Washington, where many habitat-related issues have the potential to affect mule deer populations in the long term,” said Sara Hansen, a deer specialist with state Fish and Wildlife.
The deer will be fitted with GPS collars so researchers can monitor movement and migration patterns and to learn how deer use the habitat. Each animal will be collared and released where they are captured and the collars are programmed to drop off the deer in four years, the release said.
Contractors will begin collaring deer this week in Okanogan County and then continue south as work is completed in each area.
The studies in Chelan and Kittitas counties are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are part of a collaboration between the U.S. Department of the Interior and state Fish and Wildlife.
The Okanogan County studies are part of a collaboration between state Fish and Wildlife and the University of Washington. The “Washington Predator-Prey Project,” as it’s known, studies interactions between mule deer and large carnivores in the Methow watershed.