The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has made an interesting request of Oregon bowhunters: teeth.
Black-tailed deer teeth, to be precise. According to a press release earlier this week, ODFW biologists use teeth collected from hunters to determine the age of the deer, which can then be used for population modeling. The age of the deer is determined by analyzing the roots of the sample tooth, and is apparently quite accurate.
“The more information we have about the age of the deer in the population, the better decisions we can make about hunting seasons and the health of the species,” said ODFW Ungulate Species Coordinator Don Whittaker. “These teeth are critically important to us. Black-tailed deer are not easy to count. They often move in the dark, in dense cover.”
So how does your average outdoor enthusiast go about removing a black-tailed deer tooth correctly? Well, instructions on doing so, as well as postage-paid envelopes, are available at license sales agents and all ODFW offices.
Black-tailed deer are one of two types of mule deer in Oregon. In 2008, the ODFW developed a long-term management plan aimed at estimating black-tail populations, managing habitat and developing strategies for effectively managing the animals in the future.
Whittaker stresses how important for hunters to send in teeth from every deer they bag.
“To get an accurate population estimate, we really need to get teeth from all of this year’s animals,” he said.
For more information, visit the ODFW website or call Whittaker at 503-947-6325.