The Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is a well-studied game bird with documentation of life history dating back over a century. With recent technological advancements, various transmitter types are used to gather survival and location data of individuals. Very high frequency (VHF) transmitters have conventionally been used, but the advancement of GPS technology has facilitated more precise, accurate data. Our objectives were to evaluate the trade-offs in survival for bobwhites fitted with backpack-style GPS transmitters and necklace-style VHF transmitters. In March 2017, we developed a backpack harness using Teflon ribbon to attach 5 g GPS units to 12 (n = 6 male, n = 6 female) bobwhites and we fitted 68 (n = 28 male, n = 40 female) bobwhites with 6 g necklace-style VHF transmitters. Individuals fitted with a GPS backpack transmitter were over 4 times more likely to die on a given day (ΨAD = 0.026 ± 0.011) than individuals fitted with the traditional necklace-style VHF transmitter (ΨAD = 0.006 ± 0.002). Additionally, the probability of surviving the study period was 0.18 and 0.66 for individuals with a GPS and VHF transmitter, respectively. We recommend researchers consider trade-offs associated with both transmitter types, specifically regarding survival and financial cost. We suggest that if GPS transmitters are necessary, that they resemble the necklace-style VHF transmitter.

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