The state's Department of Fish and Game announced this week that it has successfully completed the first phase of a project to capture and monitor deer along a 13-mile stretch of Interstate 280 on the Peninsula.
The project, funded by Caltrans and carried out by DFG officials and researchers from the University of California at Davis, is an effort to help reduce the high number of collisions between deer and automobiles along the highway between Millbrae and Woodside.
There are roughly 100 collisions between cars and deer each year in the area, including a fatal crash this past September on I-280 near Alpine Road, according to DFG spokeswoman Janice Mackey.
Using tranquilizer darts fired from a rifle, DFG officials sedated 14 female deer and fitted them with global positioning system collars that will record their location and send it to the UC Davis researchers via satellite, Mackey said.
Blood and hair samples were also taken from the animals, as well as length and weight measurements as part of an overall health inspection, according to the department.
The researchers will track the deer as they move along the area or onto the roadway itself.
The collars have automatic release mechanisms that will cause them to fall off after six months. At that point, officials plan to go out to sedate about 15 more deer for the study, Mackey said.
She said researchers want to have tracked a total of 45 animals by the end of the two-year project.
In the fatal crash earlier this year, a San Jose man was killed after he struck a deer on the highway on the evening of Sept. 22.
Daniel Strickland, 27, stopped his car after hitting the deer, then was struck from behind by another driver who didn't see his car, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Strickland was taken to a hospital where he died a day later.