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The Undead

Posted: November 12, 2015

The Undead may be fiction in some circles, but very real in research.

Halloween has spawned several posts – Vampires both real and fictitious.   After a year and over 100 blog posts, we are going to get our money’s worth out of this holiday.

Enter the Undead.  Duane noted, in a postscript to Twilight in Penn’s Woods?, his search for a deer whose collar was transmitting a mortality signal.  After hours of hunting for this deer (and maybe a few grouse), Duane came up empty handed (at least on the deer front).

This “dead” deer is apparently alive and well.  And its collar is functioning properly. 

So what’s the cause of this short and unsustained “death”?

Perhaps weather.  It was windy and rainy for 2 days prior to HIS death.  That’s right it was a buck.  GPS locations have shown that rain reduces movements of males but not females.  And deer have been known to stay still enough in inclement weather to trip the mortality mode of their collar. 

Apparently this buck’s lust may have been dampened by the soggy weather.  But no worries, he is back on the move looking for his damsel.  

-Jeannine Fleegle, biologist
PGC Deer and Elk Section 

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