“Don't shoot these deer or wild hogs. New MSU Deer Lab study being conducted 'There's apparent competition between pigs and whitetails where pigs take over a space and don't allow deer to access it. Our goal is to see how deer and pigs coexist on the landscape.'
For the last several years deer involved in various Mississippi State University Deer Lab studies have been sporting GPS collars and roaming parts of the state.
Now, there are about to be more and this time MSU researchers are collaring wild hogs, too.
"We're collaring adult female deer and adult female pigs," said MSU Deer Lab professor Steve Demarais. "There's apparent competition between pigs and whitetails where pigs take over a space and don't allow deer to access it. Our goal is to see how deer and pigs coexist on the landscape."
Demarais said evidence of this comes from trail camera images that show pigs and deer, but never at the same time. So, the Deer Lab is conducting a study to see how these two species interact.
The project involves 10 collared deer and 10 collared pigs. The animals are being captured and collared near the town of Pheba, which is about a 30-minute drive north of Starkville.
Mississippi State University's (from left) Logan Williamson, Amanda Puype, Colleen Farrell and Luke Resop are photographed with a deer they captured and collared for a new MSU Deer Lab study. Wild hogs:Reservoirs of disease
Disease and wild hog movement
During the year-long study, the collars will transmit location data which will allow researchers to track their movements. Depending on what the data shows, it could justify greater efforts to reduce wild pig populations in Mississippi.
The study will also allow researchers to have a clearer picture of wild pig movement. They are considered reservoirs of disease and can carry more than 60 parasites and diseases.
It is also thought that wild hogs can carry and spread chronic wasting disease, which is fatal to deer. Demarais said hogs could be consuming deer which died from the disease and spreading the proteins that cause it.
"We just need to know how they move across the landscape and spread diseases," Demarais said.
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Wild things happen during GPS studies
Of course, who knows what else may come out of the project? In a recent study using collared deer in the South Delta, researchers discovered a deer, Buck No. 140, that seasonally traveled between Louisiana and Mississippi and swam across the Mississippi River.
In another study along the Big Black River in Madison and Yazoo counties, researcher found another traveling deer, Buck No. 27, that had two home ranges 13 miles apart.
Demarais said the project has been funded for one year and during that time, he asks that hunters avoid killing collared deer and hogs in the Pheba area. If one is killed or a collar is found, he said the collar can be returned to MSU by calling a Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks conservation officer.
However, he noted that the project may be extended.
"If we're successful with the first year, we hope to get funding for additional years," Demarais said. "Hopefully, we'll get more funding so we can put out more collars next year and expand it." “
I want to know how MSU will collar a pig so that pig will retain the collar. I would also think a collar would be unstable when pigs fight, which is constantly. Their travel distances will also be interesting. They are nomadic animals outside of a fence environment.
One reason for hog depredation in our areas was the worry of spreading disease to the city water supplies….whether thats well founded, I dont know.