Whitetail doe on the go

For years books and magazine articles have told us white-tailed deer are home-bodies. Many authors claim bucks and does usually are born and die in the same small area.

“Evidentally she didn’t read those articles,” Phil Kirkland said of a doe that went on quite the walk-about. “I figure she’d gone at least 120 straight-line miles.”

Research on tagged deer on the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge show that many don't travel far. But a doe recently road-killed 40 miles north Salina had probable traveled at least 10 miles.

Research on tagged and collared deer on the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge show that many don't travel far. But a doe recently road-killed 40 miles north Salina had probably traveled at least 120 miles.

A few weeks ago Kirkland, a game warden, was called about a road-kill about 40 miles north of Salina. It was a doe that was wearing a tracking collar and ear tags from a Quivira National Wildlife Refuge research project.

For about four years biologists have been studying the movements and lifestyles of several dozen deer wearing tracking collars on the refuge about 45 minutes west of Hutchinson.

Some of the deer haven’t gone very far.

My hunting buddies and I have shot four of the marked deer on lands that border Quivira over the past two deer seasons. All were captured and collared within a mile of where they were killed. Biologists asked hunters to treat the marked deer like any other deer so they could study mortality rates as well as other things.

When he went to retrieve the collar from the road-killed doe Kirkland learned several locals had seen the doe in the area over the summer.

“They just figured she was somebody’s captive deer that had escaped. She’d been in that area for a while,” he said. “We’ve had collared bucks show-up three miles from the refuge. People say those deer never leave Quivira but some sure do. This sure proves it.”?