Colorado Asking Deer Hunters to Submit Teeth

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The Colorado Division of Wildlife is asking hunters for help this season with a research project focusing on mule deer in selected areas of southwest Colorado. Hunters who participate will be entered into a drawing and could win a Weatherby .270 rifle that is being donated by the Mule Deer Foundation.

Big game managers in Gunnison, the San Luis Valley and Montrose would like to examine the age structure of mule deer bucks harvested in game management units 54, 61, 62 and 80. The intent of this project is to evaluate how various management prescriptions are working in units with contrasting objectives.

Approximately 2,000 buck hunters should have received a mailing for this project, asking them to remove a middle incisor from the lower jaw of their harvested buck and to send it to the DOW. The mailing also included a brief survey card and a pre-paid return envelope in which to submit the tooth.

"We're making it as easy as we possibly can for hunters to return a tooth," said Brandon Diamond, terrestrial biologist in Gunnison. "It looks like we had about a 10 percent response rate from the archery and muzzleloader hunters. We'd like to increase the return during the rifle seasons so we're asking hunters to please participate in this project."

Biologists are able to determine the age of an animal by laboratory analysis of cementum annuli in the tooth. Hunters participating in this project also will be able to find out the age of their deer, with results likely being posted in the spring of 2008 on the DOW's web site.

"It doesn't matter if a hunter harvests a big buck or a small buck, we need to get back as many teeth as we can," Diamond said. "This information will help us learn more about our mule deer management prescriptions. This is a great chance for hunters to contribute to big game management in Colorado."

To give hunters more incentive to send in the teeth, the Mule Deer Foundation is donating the rifle. All hunters who submit teeth will have their names entered in a drawing for the rifle. The drawing will take place in early December.

Game management units 61 and 62 are located west of Montrose; game management unit 80 is located southwest of Alamosa; and game management unit 54 is northwest of Gunnison. Hunters are being asked to return teeth by Dec. 1, 2007.

Hunters can also drop teeth off at one of the DOW offices. Please, use the envelope that was provided. Gunnison DOW office: 300 New York Ave.; Montrose DOW office, 2300 S. Townsend Ave.; San Luis Valley DOW office, 0722 S. Road 1E in Monte Vista.

Hunters with questions about this project can call Diamond at (970)641-7060.