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Minnesota hunters asked to observe deer gut piles

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A whitetail buck in a Twin Cities park.

Deer hunters or deer camp participants who have access to deer gut piles immediately after the deer are killed are asked by the University of Minnesota Extension to participate in “Offal Wildlife Watching” across Minnesota.

The purpose of this research is to better understand what and when species use deer gut piles provided by hunters across the state.

Minnesota offers a unique opportunity to look at this across four different biomes, a major metro area and different scavenger assemblages. There are also several methods of hunting like archery, rifle and shotgun that may influence where a gut pile is located and which species visit the gut pile.

Hunters are needed from every biome including the Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parkland, Eastern Broadleaf Forest and the metro area.

Researchers are looking for hunters with their own game camera to set the camera on their gut pile and leave it to record pictures of when and what animals come in to use the gut pile for one month. Hunters are uniquely positioned to record everything that comes in to feed on that gut pile by setting up a camera immediately after field dressing a deer.

This project is being conducted by doctorate student Ellen Candler and Joseph Bump from the fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology department in the food, agriculture, and natural resource sciences college at the University of Minnesota. They are partnering with the Minnesota master naturalist.

For more information, contact Ellen Candler at 208-680-6023 or


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