The study is led by Stephen Hansen, associate professor of Biology & Environmental Studies at UMFK. Working with Hansen is Jonathan Hayes, a graduate of UMFK’s wildlife program who plans to pursue a master’s degree in wildlife science.
The research is being conducted in cooperation with Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s regional wildlife biologists Douglas M. Kane and Scott McLellan.
Hunting contributes to Maine’s economy, with hunters supporting motels, sporting camps, restaurants, guide services and other businesses.
However, during the last two decades there has been a decline in the deer population in northern, eastern, and western Maine (NEWME).
The primary objective of the study is to assess the critical wintering habitat of white-tailed deer, while incorporating the other contributing factors suppressing deer numbers in NEWME.
The study, which began last winter, is monitoring the movement of 10 individual female deer over the course of two winters. As part of the study, five deer were collared near the town of Allagash using Global Positioning System collars.
Researchers will use real-time tracking data to access daily, seasonal, and annual movements of deer in relation to various habitat types, environmental factors, and land use practices, as well as help determine the effects of winter severity on deer activity. The collars will provide multiple daily GPS fixes on the does’ exact locations.
The collars will continue to report data throughout the two-year study period. On a predetermined date, they will detach and be retrieved.