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Some GPS collars are choking deer, sometimes to death, in Indiana

Urban deer are a part of the landscape in many Bloomington neighborhoods.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) — Urban deer are a part of the landscape in many Bloomington neighborhoods.

In fact, Ball State started a study in 2013 to determine how urban and rural deer migrate. And to track that, they put collars on the deer.

Dr. Joe Caudell said it was to see how much the deer from Bloomington moved "into the surrounding areas and how much deer from the surround areas moved into Bloomington."

Although the study ended in 2017 the deer collars remained.

"These collars are designed to stay on the deer's neck most of their lives and they are supposed to expand and contract as the deer's neck changes," Dr Caudell said.

Recently a dead dear was found on South Ballantine Road in Bloomington with blood on its neck where it had apparently tried to get the collar off and failed.

"It seems like what was happening with these is that elastic that allows it to expand may have dried out. Something happened where it stopped operating properly," he said.

The lack of give in the collar possibly choked the deer.

According to the Department of Natural Resources records, about 88 deer were captured and 85 were collared. The DNR will now be working with Animal Control in Bloomington to capture and anesthetize the remaining deer and remove the collars.

"Some wear GPS collars," Dr. Caudell said. "These can be triggered to drop off. These out here now are VHF collars and they stay on for the rest of the deer's life."

They had to wait until after deer hunting season to end before they could begin the search for what is believed to be the four remaining collared deer from the study.

"In the future we know there is a risk to recapturing the deer, but what we can do is tell researchers when you are done with the study make an effort to remove the collars as possible."

The Ball State study may be long over but the effort to remove those collars is just getting underway.

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