Cache Valley Deer Take Helicopter Ride

Mar 7, 2018

Helicopter crews working with the Division of Wildlife Resources to locate and capture female mule deer.
Credit Bronson Teichert

Biologists from Division of Wildlife Resources are working with a helicopter crew to locate and capture female mule deer. The deer had tracking collars put on last December.

“With those collars we know where those deer are at,” said Jim Christensen, the Cache District biologist.  “The helicopter can fly right into them, use a net gun to catch them. They’ll blindfold and hobble those deer on the mountain, put in them in bags and fly them back to us. We’ll process those deer on sight and we’ll release them here on the same sight.”

The weight, fat, and other physical attributes are recorded so biologists can compare the data from last December.

“Number one we want to know if we have enough suitable habitat for the deer to survive through the winter,” Christensen said. “The more we know about these animals, the more we can help them.”

Nate Boyd from Wasatch High School in Heber said learning in the outdoors is better than a classroom.

“We have some hook-ups with the DNR so they have us come over and do some cool things with that.”

In this classroom, Nate and his friends don’t mind getting their hands dirty.  

“We go and orient them correctly, put them on a stretcher, bring them over to the scale,” Nate said. “We weigh them, then we bring them over from the scale to the tables, then they can start all the procedures on them.”

Then, it’s time for Annette Roug a Wildlife Veterinarian, to take over.

“When the deer come in I make sure I check them for injuries,” Roug said. “And help with taking the appropriate biological samples and also give them some preventive care, like some injections.”

Roug said the process today is stressful for the deer, but the people working make sure the animals aren’t harmed. The data collected today will help these deer and other herds in Cache Valley maintain future healthy living conditions.