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March 31, 2014

Team studying differences among Indiana deer

(Continued)

"They don't know what cars are," Williamson said. "Four to five animals died within a week or two. They were all the same age, exploring."

After that point in the fawns' development, Williamson said, city deer seemed to have figured out what vehicle traffic was all about and fatalities from collisions with vehicles stopped.

Both Carter and Williamson said the biggest result they've drawn so far from the research is that the two populations — urban and rural — are distinctly different, with different issues and forces working on them.

"The dynamics are much different," Williamson said. "When it comes time to manage white-tailed deer, they are different deer with slightly different forces. ... It's going to take some time to figure out what is the best solution to the high deer densities in Bloomington."

But the Ball State researchers are not part of the city's discussion about possibly allowing sharpshooters to hunt deer in the Griffy Lake area.

Williamson extends a "huge thank you" to all the citizens of Bloomington for their help in locating and collaring the fawns.

"They have been absolutely fantastic to work with," he said, adding that there were 800 emails and calls from residents telling the researchers where to find fawns.

"In the end, we didn't have to go find a single fawn in Bloomington," Williamson said.

The researchers figured out they spent 6.2 hours for each fawn they collared in Bloomington.

Out in the rural areas it was much different, with the collaring of a fawn requiring 62 man-hours of work. In the wooded countryside, workers had six to eight people walking through fields looking for fawns. A "good day" was when they found two to three fawns.

The study of the first-year fawns ended at the end of 2013.

Now the researchers are gearing up to find more fawns to collar this spring, starting in late May. They will again ask Bloomington residents to call the fawn hotline at 812-822-3308 or email deerstudy@bsu.edu. And they will focus more of their efforts on finding newborn fawns in the rural areas of Monroe and Brown counties.

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