Deer on the Move

The Columbian white-tailed deer is unique to southwest Washington and western Oregon. Recently, the Estuary Partnership helped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the relocation of this endangered species from Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The deer are being moved from their current location to save them from an impending dike failure between the refuge and the Columbia River. The dike failure will lead to a loss of habitat, which would further imperil an already fragile population.

To catch the deer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists lure the deer to the capture site with an enticing pile of apple and molasses. Unaware of the suspended net above this pile, the deer move in from the surrounding brush.  After the net is dropped and the deer is captured, field biologist spring into action collecting important information about the deer while fitting the deer with a radio collar and ear tags. All this work is done under the supervision of a veterinarian to ensure the deer remain safe and healthy throughout the capture process. Once the deer has been processed, it is loaded onto a truck and taken to its new home at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. You can learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to conserve the Columbian white-tailed deer at