Date of this Version
Control of burgeoning populations of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is a challenging endeavor under the best of circumstances. The challenge is further complicated when control programs are attempted within an urban or suburban area. Wildlife managers often consider management techniques and equipment which have a proven track record. New challenges require new and innovative techniques. The deer management program in Fairfax County, Virginia has employed thermal imaging technology in a variety of ways to better address these unique challenges. In addition to the more commonly used aircraft-mounted FLIR (forward looking infrared), this program utilizes vehicle-mounted and hand-held thermal imaging devices. Thermal imaging is used in determining herd densities, ensuring that control areas are free of humans, locating deer, assessing target attributes and recovering culled deer. These devices bring a higher level of safety, efficiency and efficacy to control programs operating within these difficult environs.