- By Matt Hayes
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During our Spring 2017 capturing effort, we recaptured 30 female elk, 46 female mule deer, 19 yearling males and 3 yearling females that were captured as neonates in summer of 2016. We aim to keep a sample size of 35 adult female elk and 50 female mule deer at all times; keeping our sample size is not always possible because weather conditions, collar malfunctions, mortalities, and accessibility of animals to capture.
The spring also began the start of our expanded elk work to track neonatal survival, dispersal, and recruitment into the population. Of the 30 elk that we caught 28 were pregnant and were fitted with Vaginal Implant Transmitters (VITs) to determine birth site locations and to help in neonate capture and monitoring efforts. All the female elk had one neonatal fetus. Of the 46 mule deer we caught, 44 were pregnant and fitted with VITs. Our mule deer had a fetal rate of 1.5 as compared with 1.7 for the spring of 2016.