Lab begins research on deer in Hopland, California

By Alex McInturff, PhD Candidate

Sunrise at Hopland.
Sunset at Hopland.








Gorgeous sunrises and sunsets are part of the routine of field work at the Hopland Research and Extension Center in 2017. With the support of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Justin, Kaitlyn (Ph.D. Candidate) and I have just begun putting GPS collars on deer, whose “crepuscular” behavior makes them most active at dawn and dusk.

These collars provide three streams of information: GPS locations every hour for the next 6 months, GPS locations every 5 seconds for the next month, and data from an accelerometer – more or less a Fitbit for deer – 50 times a second for the next month. Each of these datasets provides unique information on deer movement, resource use, decision-making, fear, and risk. Together, these data help support CDFW efforts to improve deer management and population estimation as well as lab interests in behavior, population dynamics, and species interactions.

And when the rain dries up, the views aren’t too bad either.