Monday, July 20, 2015

Deer Trackers!

Deer With Radio Tracking Collar
Hello my name is Nicholas Fitzke and I am the ProRanger currently stationed at Fire Island National Seashore.

A large portion of my time with Resource Management was spent tracking deer. Deer are an overpopulated species on Fire Island and the scientists here want to learn as much as they can about their ecology and how they interact with the environment. This is no easy task as deer are often in places that regular folks wouldn't dare enter (swamps, forests, tick infested fields). Thankfully we are not regular folks and have a thirst for adventure!

Each deer that is a part of the study has its own tracking collar. This collar lets the researchers locate and even track behavior of these elusive creatures. To find the deer we use a Yagi antenna which looks like those antennas people use to get TV service. This lets us triangulate the radio signal that the collars emit. We also wear Tyvek suits to keep the ticks out of our clothes. It is often a strange sight to behold for the random passer by. We look like we are searching for aliens! One gentlemen we walked past screamed, "SCIENCE!" at us, to which I replied, "YES, SCIENCE!".

Tyvek Suits
Never a dull moment! Deer tracking really pushed me out of my comfort zone. At one point during the tracking we ended up in a salt marsh. This was a mosquito breeding ground. There were so many that my body locked up from discomfort. If there is one thing I hate it is mosquitoes! But when science is involved you need to do what must be done. Like Taylor Swift I just shook it off and continued my work.

This tracking was just one piece of my conservation project that included vegetation monitoring and post hurricane Sandy restoration. The theory being that deer populations have a direct effect on vegetation and regrowth post-disaster.

If you want to learn more about Fire Island National Seashore check out their website at:

Check back next week for some of my highlights with the Law Enforcement division!

No comments:

Post a Comment