Low-flying Aircraft to Count Deer in S.E. Colorado

LAMAR, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is advising residents and hunters in the state’s southeastern counties that biologists will be using a low-flying helicopter to conduct aerial deer surveys in the coming weeks.

Flight dates are weather-dependent, but generally, the flights will start around December 15 and continue through the end of the year.

“We will primarily be flying in the Arkansas River Valley in Prowers, Bent, Otero and Crowley Counties,” said terrestrial biologist Jonathan Reitz. “But we will also be flying low over portions of Kiowa and Baca Counties as well.”

Aerial deer surveys are part of an on-going effort to monitor the deer population in the state. Understanding the ratio of bucks to does and fawns to does helps biologists estimate composition of the herd, which is used to estimate herd size. Using this data, wildlife biologists make decisions about the number of hunting licenses to issue in coming seasons.

“The reason we count in December is because most bucks still have their antlers. That helps us differentiate bucks from does and fawns,” said Reitz. “We’re hoping we get some snow before the surveys because it makes it easier to spot deer from the air.”

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