Deer Tranquilizing

I was lucky enough to sit in on a deer tranquilizing lab this morning.  SDSU is doing nutritional research on white-tailed deer at their outdoor research facility.  The deer are being housed in pens (males and females alike) outside of town and monitored for research purposes.  The males are currently being tranquilized for the removal of the antlers, but also to take blood samples, give antibiotics, and to have measurements done.

One of the measurements that was done was an ultrasound measurement of the layer of fat that encompasses the rump of a deer after the summer season.  The research being conducted is to see the difference in the fat layer between pre rut and post rut.  They will tranquilize again after the rut has ceased and it has been hypothesized that the layer of fat will be significantly smaller.  This is because the deer use so much energy during the rut and because they cease eating due to increases in testosterone levels.

Sounds cool right?

I think so too. However, I guess my intuitive nature is skeptical to the necessity of research projects like this.  I enjoy learning about research that benefits wildlife populations and the balance of human consumption.  Unfortunately, I just don’t see the necessity in this particular research.  I guess I should question my professors first before making these assumptions, but I’ve put a lot of thought into what they could possibly use fat burn during the mating season for.  I think nothing.

All in all, what I see happening is a whole lot of license fees, and tax dollars being put towards a research project that has no societal or wildlife benefit in any way.  Unless they are going to use that fat to cure cancer or something? Maybe I’m just oblivious.

What do you think? Can you come up with a reason for this knowledge?  How could knowing how much fat a deer burns during 3 weeks of sex benefit wildlife populations or society in any way? Are you okay with paying license fees or taxes for this?

This all probably sounds pretty silly coming from a guy who enjoys climbing to the top of a rock simply for the fun of it, but tax-dollars aren’t paying my way to the top.  😉