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Deer Relocated To Cherokee

Updated: Monday, February 24 2014, 11:22 PM EST
There are 21 more deer roaming Cherokee land. That's thanks to a new tribal program. Wildlife officials are moving deer from the over-populated Morrow Mountain State Park and sending them to Cherokee. There are less deer on the reservation because of over-hunting years ago.

"The fur trade was a really big industry here, so thousands of pelts came out of the area right here," said Caleb Hickman with the Tribe's Fisheries and Wildlife Management

The deer have spent a month in a protected habitat, and Monday tribal leaders and wildlife biologists released them into the wild.

"It definitely makes you feel proud to know that we are helping to improve the environment that we live in. Our goal is to monitor and hopefully watch them blossom," said Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Chief Michell Hicks.

Hickman says each deer has a tag and a collar for radio tracking. He says these deer will be studied closely.

"We hope to find out what sort of groups they form. If they're going to pair up in family groups maybe and this could help inform some of our capture and release procedures in the future. So we hope that this population will flourish."

Chief Hicks has hopes for even more deer released in the future.

"So I'm hoping we can turn loose 100 to 150 deer here in the next 2 to 3 years."

Most deer released Monday are does and some of them are pregnant.

By Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOSDeer Relocated To Cherokee

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