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1 June 2006 Effectiveness of Vaginal Implant Transmitters for Locating Neonatal Mule Deer Fawns
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Abstract

We evaluated vaginal implant transmitters (VITs) as a technique for locating neonatal mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) fawns. We implanted VITs in 29 pregnant, wild female mule deer in March 2003 and in 20 pregnant, captive mule deer in March 2004. We found no wild fawns at the birth site using VITs. Only 12 of 19 VITs were dropped in beds, and none could be confirmed as birth sites. In contrast, captive does shed 17 of 19 VITs at the birth site during parturition. Two were shed prematurely, and signals of 2 VITs failed. Antenna length, depth of insertion, and length of vaginal canal had no effect on the likelihood of premature shedding. Using aerial telemetry, we detected implanted VITs from distances of up to 1.2 km and expelled VITs from up to 2 km away, whereas from the ground, signal range was <0.6 km. Labor during fawning lasted an average of 121 min, and the average fawn began standing 35 min and nursing 43 min after birth. Six of 17 of captive females left the birth site within 6 hr of parturition, and wild fawns moved up to 0.6 km from the birth site within 24 hr. During the first 5 days after birth, fawns nursed on average every 3.34 hr. We recommend when using VITs to locate neonatal mule deer fawns near the birth site, VIT signals should be monitored 2–3 times a day from within 0.5 km on ground or 2 km from the air.

TAMARA L. JOHNSTONE-YELLIN, LISA A. SHIPLEY, and WOODROW L. MYERS "Effectiveness of Vaginal Implant Transmitters for Locating Neonatal Mule Deer Fawns," Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(2), 338-344, (1 June 2006). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[338:EOVITF]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 June 2006
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