Coded Wire Tags are really small. They are too small to incorporate technology that could transmit their codes. You usually can’t see them after they are implanted and even if you could, the code is much too small to read. So, how do you go about reading Coded Wire Tags? First, the tags are removed from the host and then tag reading is normally done under a microscope with 25X or higher magnification. With a little practice, this is simple and quick. The target area containing the tag is removed, and then an electronic detector is used to find the tags in successively smaller pieces of that tissue.
Large-scale Coded Wire Tag programs usually set up centralized labs dedicated to reading Coded Wire Tags and may process upwards of 20,000 tags per year. Learn more about Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Tag Lab in Juneau.
Tag Reading Tools
Once the tag is removed from the tissue, handling and reading Coded Wire Tags is much easier with some simple tools.
If you use a microscope, then we recommend using the Tag Reading Jig with Pencils to hold the Coded Wire Tags, along with the Illuminator to properly light them up under your microscope.
No microscope? Heading into the field? No problem! In this case, we recommend using the MagniViewer to handle and read Coded Wire Tags. You can even use the MagniViewer with your smart phone to take some great pictures of the tags you recover.