Device Can Help Track Poachers After Animals Are Killed
Apr. 30, 1988
Undated (AP) _ Poachers in Georgia beware: The deer you may be thinking of killing out of season could be radio-equipped.
''They might track you home,'' warned Georgia Game and Fish Division biologist Bill Collins.
The radios, ''about the size of a fat cigar that's been half-smoked,'' are being implanted in deer in various parts of the state, said Collins. The surgery to implant the transmitter isn't complicated and the device is hard to find inside the animal.
The $200 radio transmits a special, powerful signal after the animal dies. One already has led rangers to a poacher.
''The one deer had been gutted and we were still able to track the deer to where it had been taken and arrest the fellow who shot it,'' Collins said.
The man has not yet come to trial on three poaching-related charges. State biologist Sid Painter said he hopes when it does go to court ''the penalty includes enough to buy two more radios, plus restitution for one deer, and that's $750.''
Collins declined to identify the man or the location of the shooting, or to say where radio-implanted deer were released.
Meanwhile, Painter said, the radio from the slain deer has been implanted in another deer. The Game and Fish Division also is moving to put smaller radios in other animals, such as turkeys, which are commonly taken out of season.
''You can assume there are going to be more out there,'' Collins said. The smaller radios will be as powerful as the ones in deer, but will have a shorter battery life.
The radios were implanted in deer during the winter ''as a pilot study. The purpose of this was not to catch anybody. The main thing was to find the number of deer that were killed illegally,'' Collins said by telephone from his Armuchee office.
Deer poaching has been a major problem in the state. Estimates by Game and Fish personnel have been that 100,000 or more deer may be killed illegally every year. Georgia's deer herd was estimated at 1.3 million animals before last fall's hunt began.
Biologists estimate the legal kill was 280,000 deer during the season, which ended in early January. A series of raids by state and federal wildlife agents netted a ton of illegally taken venison in May 1986.
The implanted radio transmits a slow steady signal that can be picked up by tracking receivers up to two miles away. It will last up to two years.
If the animal dies, a motion sensor is triggered, and the radio switches on a much stronger, faster signal that can be picked up from a greater distance.
The receivers are portable units. They can be carried by hand, in a vehicle or in an airplane. Airplanes generally can pick up the signals from longer range.
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