We compared the utility of vaginal implant transmitters (VITs) and field searches for locating elk (Cervus elaphus) calves in southeastern Kentucky during the spring of 2001. Retention of VITs among 40 adult females ranged from 1–276 days (x̄=61.6±8.4 [SE] days). Approximately half of the transmitters (n=19) were expelled prematurely or malfunctioned. Two of 37 (5%) transmitters in translocated females performed as designed and led to calf capture. We captured more calves (n=9 in 2001; n=16 in 2002) by searching areas where elk exhibited parturition behavior. We suggest that manufacturers refine the current VIT design to increase its application and cost-effectiveness.
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