Efforts to evaluate deer movements and response to 4-Poster devices are underway on Shelter Island and in North Haven. During the months of January-March, deer were captured using clover traps, drop nets, and dart rifles. These traps were placed on the properties of cooperating community members. During capture, the deer are handled humanely, in accordance with protocols filed with the Cornell Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and following NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Special Licenses Unit procedures. Adult does are the only deer fitted with radio-collars and ear tags; all other captured deer just receive ear tags.
Drop nets are suspended from trees with bait piles directly below. Cornell staff must be on site to release the net and capture the deer. This method allows us to capture multiple deer at once and target specific animals, such as adult does.
Clover traps allow the deer to walk into the trap from the front and trip the trigger at the rear, causing a mesh door to slide shut, capturing the animal. These traps are often set in the afternoon and left alone until just after dark before being checked. Clover traps allow us to work in multiple locations at the same time.
After the deer have been captured, they are chemically immobilized using a combination of drugs. The deer remain immobilized for about an hour, allowing Cornell staff to tag, collar, collect blood samples, and age the animal. After the tagging process is complete, the deer is given a drug to reverse the effects of the immobilizing drugs. The deer will be monitored until it can stand and walk away without any problem.