DWR crews relocate 100 mule deer off Antelope Island

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DAVIS COUNTY, Utah -- The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources airlifted 100 mule deer off Antelope Island, Tuesday, to help control its growing animal population.

The process of capturing the mule deer is called mugging, basically the helicopter pilot herds the animals, until a man armed with a net gun can get a drop on them.

“They actually call them muggers and put hobbles on the legs and blindfolds over the eyes -- that helps calm the deer,” said Josh Pollock a wildlife biologist for DWR.

Once the biologists get the does on the table, they check each animal’s weight, tag their ears, give them shots, take a blood sample and monitor temperature.

The information gathered provides a baseline for what's happening on the island and gives an idea of the overall health of the animals.

“The deer have come back very healthy, as a matter of fact some of them has been as fat as we've ever seen them on their rumps,” said Chad Wilson a wildlife biologist for DWR .

Since hunting is restricted on Antelope Island, they have to remove the deer to keep them from competing for resources, which can lead to a population crash.

The DWR crew’s objective is to reduce the deer population. The hope is to reduce it to 350 from 600 to 800.

The deer they catch during this roundup will end up in Mt. Dutton and San Juan in central Utah.


  • bob

    Are we running out of mule deer or something? HUNT THEM! Sheesh.

    Helicopters operate at about $1000 an hour, not counting the pilots and everyone else involved. If it takes an hour per deer, and they’re “relocating” 300 of them……that seems a bit steep. Enjoy, taxpayers.

    That’s OK, we’ve also got plenty of money.

    • Jason

      Most of the budget for the Division of Wildlife Resources comes from hunting& fishing permit fees & through an additional tax applied to sporting goods equipment. Thus funding for projects such as this are provided primarily by hunters & fishermen.

      Mule Deer Conservation- For the past few years we have been working to increase the #’s of Mule deer and to improve the health of mule deer populations. As part of the effort deer permits have been difficult to obtain in many areas, & coyote bounties were put in place to decrease the number of fawns consumed during the winter.

      During the last few years there has been a remarkable improvement in the health of the mule deer population where I hunt.

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