News Release Published: January 7, 2010 by the South Central Region
Contact(s): Robert Rolley, Population Ecologist, Madison: 608-221-6341 Don Bates, CWD Operations Supervisor, Dodgeville: 608-935-1947
FITCHBURG – Once again, Department of Natural Resources biologists will conduct an aerial deer count over parts of the chronic wasting disease Management Zone (CWD-MZ) of southwest Wisconsin during January, weather permitting.
Agency biologists will use a helicopter to determine the number of deer in Deer Management Unit 70A encompassing much of Iowa County and western Dane County, near Devil’s Lake State Park, and Hollandale.
Biologists estimate the survey will take at least 10 days but “everything is dependent on having at least three to four inches, preferably six to twelve inches, of snow on the ground to cover logs and stumps so deer are clearly visible on the landscape,” noted agency wildlife population ecologist Robert Rolley, Madison.
The blue and white colored helicopters will be manned by a pilot and two observers and “even in perfect weather we won’t be done until the third or fourth week of January,” added Don Bates, CWD operations supervisor, Dodgeville.
DNR frequently uses aircraft for wildlife population surveys, such as counting bald eagles and trumpeter swan nests, and tracking wolves. The helicopter deer survey flights are conducted about 100-150 feet above tree-top level at speeds of 35-40 miles per hour. If livestock are observed in the immediate area, the altitude is raised to avoid spooking the animals.