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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Development of a String-Tracking System for Tranquilizer Dart Guns

  • Author(s): Gallagher, George R.
  • et al.

It was hypothesized that an inexpensive string-based tracking system could be developed to aid in the recovery of animals using tranquilizer dart delivery systems. Terminal velocity data were initially collected for 0.5-cc, 1.0-cc, 2.0-cc, and 3.0-cc conventional practice darts when fired from a .22-caliber cartridge-type dart gun at incremental distances of approximately 10-30 m. A commercially available archery string-based tracking system was modified and fitted to the dart gun. Power charges and pressure settings were changed in an attempt to achieve similar characteristics of darts when incorporating the string tracking system. During field testing, 10 raccoons were darted using the system, with 9 animals recovered. Ten white-tailed deer were darted and successfully recovered. All darts were readily recovered. Results of this study indicate the string tracking system is an inexpensive and reliable technology to facilitate the recovery of tranquilized animals and darts.

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