For students who work in the University of Georgia’s Deer Research Laboratory, the concept of face coverings is not new.
That’s because when researchers study white-tailed deer, face coverings are used to keep the animals calm while necessary data is collected. Lately this data, such as size or DNA, has been collected as part of a five-year study by UGA researchers investigating the decline of North Georgia’s deer population, as well as factors that encourage fawn survival.
Now in its final year, the study partners Warnell with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to understand the effects predators and habitat have on deer numbers in Georgia’s mountains. Fawn survival is an integral part of this work, and UGA students track newborns for about three months to gauge their health. The longer a fawn survives past this critical stage, the greater chance they have in the longer term.
While adult deer may pose more of a risk to researchers and themselves and are often sedated while their face is covered, fawns are manageable with just a tiny covering slipped over their eyes—most often, it’s just a modified baby sock.