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If you have never taken the time to check out Penn State's "Deer Forest Study"

DeerCamp

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It's an ongoing research project that is the most encompassing deer research program I am aware of. They study everything deer, backed by GPS collar data and trapping and sampling deer.

I email subscribe to their blog posts, which are always an interesting read:

I've had discussions with Dr. Diefenbach - I don't always agree with him, but that man loves him some critters and it really shows in the quality of the work he and his team do.

Some articles are educational and applicable to making us better hunters.

Sometimes the articles are just interesting, perhaps even a little sad

Anywho - check em out!
 

DoubleRidge

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When I read about the fawn who was listed as abandoned with cause of death as starvation I wonder if researchers handling, weighing and measuring the fawn could have contributed to the abandonment? Doubtful I guess, just curious?

The reason I ask this as even remotely possible is many years ago a friend was cutting hay and jumped a mama doe.... friend got off tractor and discovered her fawn....so he moved the fawn over a little and cut hay around the fawns new location towards edge of the field.....he came back for the next three days and fawn was in same location with no mama in sight....fawn appeared to be abandoned and getting weak......so while illegal (I know)...he took the fawn.... bottle raised it...year or two later it was a four point pen raised and in November it busted out of pen and was free.....he was getting close to letting it go anyway because it was doing so good

Anyway....it appeared him handling and moving the fawn wasn't a good move to start with....which made me wonder if researchers handling fawns could skew the results in some cases? Doubtful....just curious.
 

Omega

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Clarksville, TN
When I read about the fawn who was listed as abandoned with cause of death as starvation I wonder if researchers handling, weighing and measuring the fawn could have contributed to the abandonment? Doubtful I guess, just curious?

The reason I ask this as even remotely possible is many years ago a friend was cutting hay and jumped a mama doe.... friend got off tractor and discovered her fawn....so he moved the fawn over a little and cut hay around the fawns new location towards edge of the field.....he came back for the next three days and fawn was in same location with no mama in sight....fawn appeared to be abandoned and getting weak......so while illegal (I know)...he took the fawn.... bottle raised it...year or two later it was a four point pen raised and in November it busted out of pen and was free.....he was getting close to letting it go anyway because it was doing so good

Anyway....it appeared him handling and moving the fawn wasn't a good move to start with....which made me wonder if researchers handling fawns could skew the results in some cases? Doubtful....just curious.
That had been a rule with me, don't touch any wild critter you can't raise. I've always been led to believe that a momma will abandon their young if they smell human scent on them. Not sure if that is true or not but I usually let nature take it's course. Once or twice I've broken that rule though, once when I first moved into my current house. I was mowing and trimming the grass and came upon a bunch of baby rabbits, momma skedaddled but the babies just stayed. I put them in a box, while gloved, and finished mowing. Let them back out about an hour later, momma returned and all was well.
 

DeerCamp

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That had been a rule with me, don't touch any wild critter you can't raise. I've always been led to believe that a momma will abandon their young if they smell human scent on them. Not sure if that is true or not but I usually let nature take it's course. Once or twice I've broken that rule though, once when I first moved into my current house. I was mowing and trimming the grass and came upon a bunch of baby rabbits, momma skedaddled but the babies just stayed. I put them in a box, while gloved, and finished mowing. Let them back out about an hour later, momma returned and all was well.
From everything I have read, the idea of tainting young animals by touching them is mostly bunk. Nice job saving some bunnies :)
 

BSK

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Nashville, TN
When it comes to white-tailed deer, handling fawns is not a problem. Researchers have been catching fawns and tagging or measuring them then releasing them, for decades without problems. Any abandonment issues involving a captured fawn are more likely coincidence or an abandonment that would have happened anyways.
 

BSK

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Penn State has been doing GREAT deer/habitat studies for many years. Definitely one of the top deer-focused research universities outside of the Southeast.
 

DeerCamp

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Penn State has been doing GREAT deer/habitat studies for many years. Definitely one of the top deer-focused research universities outside of the Southeast.
The only disagreement I have had with Penn State is regarding their "deer movement doesn't change with weather" studies that got quite a bit of traction.

I went back and forth with Dr. Diefenbach on this one for a couple reasons that I felt make the study lower value. To his credit he did respond.

1. They excluded data from November to try and account for rut movement, but this is exactly when I think the impact of weather is the greatest, and when it matters most to hunters.
2. The study used "total movements" but couldn't really account for distances travelled all that well.
3. The study primarily focused on does
4. I have years of trail cam data and for a while hunting logs that directly contradict the findings of the study.

There was not a strong case for them to make the assertion that "weather doesn't significantly affect deer movements" based on that study, in my opinion.

But I am a big advocate of the work they are doing. Super informative overall.
 

BSK

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Agree DeerCamp. The methodology of that study was flawed IF they wanted to see small-scale changes in movement based on weather. Interestingly, my data suggests weather has the greatest impact early in the hunting season; i.e. September and October. It is at that time that the first cold snaps seem to play a significant role in movement. However, the rut overpowers weather during November, and the post-rut lull does somewhat the same in December.
 

DeerCamp

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Agree DeerCamp. The methodology of that study was flawed IF they wanted to see small-scale changes in movement based on weather. Interestingly, my data suggests weather has the greatest impact early in the hunting season; i.e. September and October. It is at that time that the first cold snaps seem to play a significant role in movement. However, the rut overpowers weather during November, and the post-rut lull does somewhat the same in December.
I primarily hunt fields I wonder if that plays into it.
 
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