Oh, deer! Missouri buck makes record 200-mile journey


FILE: Two deer graze in a Yosemite Valley field on August 28, 2013 in Yosemite National Park, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A research project conducted to better understand the travel habits of deer has revealed something never seen before.

Using GPS tracking of more than 600 deer in Missouri, researchers found one that traveled nearly 200 miles over a 22-day period.

The study, funded by the Missouri Department of Conservation, was first published in March in “Ecology and Evolution.” The movements were tracked in November 2017 during hunting season.

“This extraordinary movement just jumped out from the others we tracked,” lead author Remington Moll said in an interview for Phys.org. “At first, we thought it was an error. It looks like someone took the GPS collar and drove across the state of Missouri.”

While juvenile deer are more likely to travel more, researchers say, the record-breaking animal in this study, known as N17003, was an adult.

Throughout what’s known as dispersal — when deer move away from the range where they were born to establish a new adult home range — this deer “crossed a major river seven times, an interstate highway, a railroad, and eight state highways.”

What ultimately happened to him? According to the study, N17003 died June 20, 2018, likely of hemorrhagic disease.

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