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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry XXXIX

Posted: October 26, 2016

Behold the triumphant return of Roof Rack and Skirtle the Turtle
Morning on the Susquehannock

Morning on the Susquehannock

[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

Dear Deer people,

I started my week off investigating a fawn mortality on Monday. It didn't take long to hone in on the signal. I found the carcass only 45 yards off a road in a heavily hunted area.  Coincidentally, it was 13 yards from where we initially captured/collared this fawn back in June. With a hole in its side and guts hanging out, it was a pretty easy case to solve [this is a hunting loss, not a case of poaching]. I collected the collar, ear tags, and lower jaw (for deer-age training) and left the rest for the scavengers.

The weather forecast called for heavy rain Thursday and Friday, so I finished my telemetry locations earlier in the week. Thursday afternoon between rainstorms, I decided to do some exploring and road-clearing for winter traplines. Unfortunately, my curiosity got the best of me and I ended up down an old skid trail...a few feet too far. I realized my mistake moments too late hearing a THUD beneath the truck as it came to a jerking halt. I discovered a tree stump that had been hidden in the grassy road bottoming out the truck.Truck vs stump

In the next hour and a half (I was reluctant to bother DCNR with a rescue mission), I did everything in my power to get the truck unstuck without causing any more damage. In order to gain some clearance and traction, I scoured a nearby log landing for big flat rocks to put beneath the front tires. That's when I learned my car jack was broken, of course! 

My next idea was to chip away at the stump with a crowbar, hoping it was decayed enough to crumble away. No such luck. I carry a come-along in my truck; however, there were no trees large enough within reaching distance of the cable. 

With storm clouds rapidly approaching and no more tricks up my sleeve, I accepted defeat and made the SOS call to DCNR, who showed up with a big floor jack to get the job done. It's a good thing I had cell service!

So, that truck is in the shop now, but Roof Rack is finally fixed (knock on wood) and up-to-date with inspection! April and/or Bret will be coming up to swap some vehicles this week. In the meantime, I'll keep my exploring to a minimum.

-Hannah
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

A warm beginning of the week quickly turned cold and rainy by the end. Regardless the ticks are out.  I found one embedded in my leg on Monday after work. I’ve been noticing them in the area a lot over the past few weeks.

The acorns have been dropping. As I was standing under a red oak tree in Colyer conducting telemetry on Thursday, acorns were hitting me on the head. Big, juicy ones, too! 

red oak acorns

This made me wonder if the acorn crop would affect deer captures during winter trapping. We are going to find out [abundant acorns are NOT good during trapping season]. During the warm days, I observed an Eastern Box Turtle, black rat snake, Cross Orbweaver spider, Giant Puffball mushrooms, and plenty of leaves changing colors!

Puffball

I finished the week up with a mortality investigation on Friday. I received the email notification on Thursday night. My deer trapping crew and I captured this doe in Rothrock on March 8th, 2016 and fitted her with a GPS collar. We’d catch a glimpse of her every once in a while from the road. I wondered if she would be harvested this year since her home range includes a section of Cooper’s Gap Rd and I was seeing a vehicle parked in this general vicinity. I spent two hours conducting the mortality investigation and found her only 70 m from the road. 

There was one pile of bear scat near the initial mortality site and two piles of bear scat where I found the carcass. She had been dead for over a day. I also couldn’t find any obvious signs of hemorrhaging to indicate that she may have been struck by a bear [hemorrhaging indicates predation as opposed to scavenging]. She had a small hole in her gut area, but it could’ve just been a tear in the hide. I was certainly leaning more towards an unrecovered harvest, and then thinking that the feeding was opportunistic by the bear(s). But, I’ll leave that up to the experts.

At the end of the week, the “closed bridge” signs were still up. I also got Skirtle the Turtle (my truck) back. 

Skirtle

Hopefully, she’ll get to spend a little time with me before she goes back into the garage again.  I did get to locate a few new trapping sites this week, but mostly kept busy with fawn monitoring.

Next week, I’ll be running up to Coudersport with or without Bret to pick up a truck from the northern study area, and will continue to monitor the fawns in the south.

 

-April
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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