Nicotine Salicylate For Capturing Deer

Since the turn of the century the need for a simplified method of capturing wild animals has been recognized. Although various trapping procedures have been successfully employed under a variety of conditions, the potentialities of a drugged dart have warranted considerable speculation. During the past decade extensive investigation has been directed toward perfecting a technique which would immobilize a deer until the proper measures of restraint could be inaugurated. For the acquisition of this aim, two major factors had to be considered. First, an efficient means of inducing a drug into the systemic circulation of an animal was necessary. The instrument for delivery had to be accurate within a reasonable range, and at the same time inflict a minimum of mechanical damage. Secondly, the selection of a drug was of paramount importance. The ideal drug had to possess the following characteristics: 1. The effective dose must not exceed the quantity which could be carried on the dart; 2. Stability; 3. Rapid absorption into the systemic circulation; 4. Rapid onset of action with sufficient immobilization of the subject; 5. A wide margin of safety (3X minimum) ; 6. Should not require an antidote; 7. Rapidly eliminated from circulatory system; 8. Have no effect on gestation; 9. Cause no permanent damage to an animaL. The method of delivery was acquired through the conversion of a Crossman Model 100, 101 or 102 air-rifle, designed to shoot small steel darts made from drill bits. After screening numerous compounds to determine the presence or absence of the above 9 necessary characteristics, nicotine salicylate was selected. The dosage, safety factor and general pharmacological properties of this nicotine salt were determined on experimental goats. Observation obtained from 85 experimental shots were evaluated. To date, 17 wild deer have been captured with the described technique and from all indications the response of the deer may be expected to closely parallel that of experimental goats. This brief paper is a condensation of a detailed report which has been accepted for publication in the near future by the Journal of Wildlife Management, and is presented with the permission of the editor of the JournaL.

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