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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry XIV

Posted: May 4, 2016

Transitioning from one season to the next.
Red Trillium or Stinking Benjamin (Trillium erectum)

Red Trillium or Stinking Benjamin (Trillium erectum)

It’s May already.  While things are quiet in the field now, it won’t last for long.

[Comments in brackets are from Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

Dear deer people,

Another battery died on a fawn collar from last year. So we're down to 4 fawns on-air in the Susquehannock. I biangulated these 4 fawns today for the first time since January [biangulation means that Hannah used the antenna and receiver to collect 2 bearings towards the signal - if you know the direction of the signal from 2 or more known locations, you can estimate the location of the deer].

Yesterday, I drove down to Bald Eagle State Forest to help April complete a few pellet transects. Big thanks to Doug for volunteering to accompany me on this whirlwind adventure!

Over the weekend, I spent hours cleaning and organizing the storage shed where equipment is stored. I also emptied out both trucks for the first time post-trapping season and hosed out the beds. Feels good to restore some order to my life! I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts until fawning starts in few weeks...

Corn-free truck

I have also been discovering some cool things in the forest that are new to me as they don't occur in Wisconsin where I grew up. For instance, I saw my first-ever Red Trillium today--stunning! We only have white trilliums in WI.

While we were down in Bald Eagle SF, Doug and I saw a bunch of giant millipedes rootin' around in the leaf litter. They were strikingly colored so I Google'd them when I got home.

North American millipede

It turns out they are North American Millipedes which happen to be the largest millipedes in North America, growing to 10 cm in length--how neat is that?! [They are also super crunchy so I recommend NOT stepping on them]

-Hannah
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer & Elk Section

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From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

Bret and I spent Monday-Wednesday completing pellet transects in the Southern Study Area. Chris, Hannah and Doug helped out this week, as well. We are down to 4 pellet transects in Bald Eagle and 15 in Rothrock. 

Muttersbaugh Gap Rothrock SFMuttersbaugh Gap, Rothrock State Forest

On Wednesday, I also discovered that there is another fawn off air in the Southern Study Area. This fawn was originally radio collared on 6/4/15 in Rothrock. I suspect the battery in his collar has died. His sibling was still on air as of Wednesday [But who knows for who long]. 

In regard to my growing species list for the year, I added an American redstart, an Eastern ratsnake [my most unfavorite snake for their bad attitude and appetite for baby birds!] and an Eastern gartersnake.

eastern ratsnake

All were found in Bald Eagle while conducting pellet transects. Also, remember the killdeer nest that I shared a photo of a few weeks ago? I received word that there are now at least two killdeer chicks running around in the fields outside of the Rothrock study site.

Bret and I will be attempting to drop a GPS collar from a doe on Monday in Bald Eagle using the electronic drop-off device that I used to drop collars from the VIT deer earlier this year. It’d also be great to finish up the pellet transects this week, but probably unlikely. 

I should also mention that the fawn crew starts in a week and a half and I am EXCITED!

-April
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer & Elk Section
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