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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry XXIV

Posted: July 13, 2016

A late entry to the race makes for an interesting week.
Fawns traveling with mom are a common sight in July.

Fawns traveling with mom are a common sight in July.

[Comment in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

Dear deer people,

“Corn dog!” The 2 sweetest words during fawning season. Not because they’re delicious (although that may be true), but because that’s our code word for fawn! When grid-searching for fawns around a VIT birth site, scouring the vicinity of a suspicious doe, or pushing through open fields, it was decided early-on that we needed a code word as a way to instantaneously rally the troops when one of us spotted one of those little rascals. You might be asking yourselves, is a code word really necessary? But I think deep down we all know the answer to that question. Because what fun is saying “fawn” when you could instead proclaim, “CORN DOGGGGGGG!” I rest my case.

On July 9th--over 3 weeks since our final fawn capture and having long since closed the books on fawning season--I heard those magical words again. It all started 2 nights prior when I received a VIT expulsion email.

Could it be? One of our 2 remaining VITs had finally dropped! 

We'd seen an expulsion email for this VIT before which turned out to be a false alarm. Even so, we had high hopes hiking into the woods that morning.

Good news: we found the VIT no problem and it appeared to be a birth site.

Birth site and VIT

Birth site - the VIT is the small spec of orange near center of photo.

Bad news: it was in the thickest briar patch you've ever seen and a thunderstorm was rolling in fast. We did our best to wade through the thorns looking for fawns, but it was like finding a needle in a haystack. Once the rain started pouring down, we decided to head back to the trucks since our telemetry antenna is like a lightning rod.

But we weren't giving up that easy. Realizing that this doe wouldn't stray far from her newborn fawn(s), we triangulated her collar signal the following day hoping she'd be bedded down in the heat and we might be able to get a visual on her. Our triangulation put her near the bottom of a hillside within several hundred meters of where we'd found the VIT the day prior (at the top of the hill). 

This was promising! But it soon became clear that we weren't going to sneak up on her that easily. 

Instead, we decided to form a line and search the hill up towards the birth site figuring if the doe is down here and she gave birth up there, well, maybe her fawns will be somewhere in between! There were 6 of us and we were about 400 feet from the top of the hill when I heard Kate at the very end of the line utter calmly "corn dog." I don't think any of us believed her until we heard the fawn let out a short bleat when she picked it up.

A fawn capture on July 9th?! I'm still on cloud nine.

Ear-tagging fawn

Ear tagging fawn.

Fawn hoof

Day old fawn hoof.

This upcoming week we will be putting exclosure repair on hold and devoting most of our time outside of monitoring fawns to assisting the bear bio aide with trap checks.

-Hannah
Crew Leader
Deer and Elk Section

 

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From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

The week went by so quickly that I hardly remember it! 

This week we continued with fawn locations and fence plots. On Thursday evening, Levi and Julie dropped the crew truck off to get worked on. Now, my truck is making a loud noise, so it’ll be going to the garage at the beginning of next week.

Repairing deer exclosure

Levi doing maintenance on a deer exclosure plot.

Saturday morning, I received a call from Levi stating that there was a fawn mortality. Julie and Levi went in to investigate. They found that the carcass was fully intact. If you remember the photo of the first fawn captured in the north (fawn with curled ear tips), you may be surprised to learn that this fawn also had curled ear tips. 

Time flies when you’re having fun!

-April
Crew Leader
Deer and Elk Section

PGClogo

 

 

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