Last weekend I attended one of Jelen Deer Services Lantra Awards Live Capture and Handling Courses. During my lifetime I have attended many courses but this one was the most interesting of all of them. The course covered Human Safety, Drug Classification, Animal Anatomy, Anaesthesia, Dose Rates, Darts and Projectors and Practical Demonstration. This was followed by a two hour written examination, followed by a visit to a nearby deer park, where Mike Allison, MD of Jelen Deer Services showed the candidates how a deer should be darted. The candidates took part in forming the immobilisation plan, preparing the dart and other equipment and then shadowed Mike as he darted the deer. The deer (a red hind) had been observed to have a hole in the skin to the Rear right side of her jaw, which Mike suspected could have been an old bullet wound. The hind was then tagged with a yellow "do not eat" tag.
There being no need for further treatment, Mike demonstrated how to administer the antagonist into the jugular vein and the hind woke up and went off to join her companions, none the worse for her experience. The deer manager of the park would then keep a close eye on her for the next twelve hours or so.
The course itself was well run, presented and delivered. There was plenty of bacon rolls for breakfast and an unending supply of tea, biscuits and chocolate bars. Presumably the latter was to keep us candidates awake. Not necessary, the course content was enough to ensure the usual course sleep gremlins were held at bay. I would recommend this course to anyone with an interest in deer management. Even if you do not want to dart the animals yourself.