Department of Fish and Game Completes Bay Area Deer Capture Project

Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8908
Cristen Langner, DFG Wildlife Biologist, (916) 322-8907

 The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has successfully completed the first phase of the deer capture project along Interstate 280.

“Our goal was to get in and out with minimal disturbance to the deer and the neighborhoods, and our teams successfully accomplished that,” said David Casady, Environmental Scientist for DFG.

As part of a two-year project, the 18-month study focuses on the capture of deer along a 13 mile stretch of the freeway from Millbrae to Woodside. The purpose is to collect information and data that will help experts reduce the high number of automobile/deer collisions on this stretch of highway. The project is being funded by Caltrans and executed by UC Davis and DFG.

Using tranquilizer darts fired from a rifle, 14 female deer were sedated by trained biologists. Blood and hair samples were taken, length and weight measurements were recorded and an overall health inspection was conducted on each animal.

The captured deer were also fitted with GPS collars that will record their location and send the information to researchers via satellite. The researchers will use the data to track the deer as they move along the areas adjoining the freeway or onto the roadway itself. Automatic release mechanisms will cause the collars to fall off the deer after six months.

“All of the deer captured appeared to be healthy and many of them had fawns of all ages at their side,” Casady said. “I look forward to assisting UC Davis researchers with the next capture phase of this project.”

The next phase of the project is set to be conducted in six months using the same techniques with deer in the same vicinity.