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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry 51

Posted: January 25, 2017

Success! Even with subpar trapping weather, the crews are on the board.

[Comment in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

Dear deer people,

Our first 2017 deer captures are officially on the books! The weather did not cooperate most of the week, but we managed to open Clover traps Thursday night. They'd had bait in them since Sunday/Monday and there was deer sign in quite a few already.  So we were hopeful.  Come Friday morning, we were not disappointed. We caught 6 deer, all does, and deployed 3 VITs! 

However, we did lose 2 deer that didn't have time for Clover trap shenanigans.  They managed to break free before we arrived on the scene. One trap was completely tipped on its side with the 1.5-foot rebar stakes pulled out of the ground. A few pieces of rebar were bent and one actually snapped the weld that was holding the anchor bracket to the trap.  Side note: anchoring a trap works much better when the ground is actually, you know... frozen. jailbreak

Aside from that excitement, we've been having truck troubles (almost goes without saying nowadays). We discovered that a fastener keeping the air filter housing together had rusted away.  We duct-taped it for the time being and headed to the shop. No big deal, right? [Famous last words] The truck is currently out of commission in the Susquehannock awaiting a tow tomorrow morning. 

Mice mayhemThe crew made it about a mile before the truck lost all power. A little investigation solved the mystery. At least a pound of corn kernels had to be emptied from the air filter which was apparently doubling as a rodent food warehouse. Unfortunately, some of the corn got sucked into the air intake which caused the engine failure. For such a small little critter, mice sure can cause a lot of mayhem! [Isn’t there an insurance ad campaign with this very theme!]

In addition to Clover traps, we've been baiting several rocket-net sites and hope to sit at least one net this week. We also have 3 more collars to drop off in our spare time. Can't wait to see what this week brings!

-Hannah
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

Baiting began this week so our plan was to explore the woods as much as possible to locate good deer trapping sites. We pre-baited and re-baited both new and old sites in both Rothrock and Bald Eagle this week. Levi baiting

A crew member updated the Southern Study Area Baiting Site datasheets.  I could then update my files and upload the new coordinates into the GPSs each night. 

We had deer coming into one of our best rocket net sites after the first night of baiting. They then skipped a night but revisited again at dusk by the third night. They haven’t established a consistent pattern yet.

We dropped the only VIT doe collar we had remaining this week. 

We pushed back setting up another rocket net until next week but have 8 rocket net sites baited at the moment. Fog has been rolling in overnight when the deer are at our sites, so it’s hard to see in the photos what sex/age deer are visiting. 

We have some seemingly cooperative Clover sites already.  We plan to put wired-open Clover traps out early this week.  We will likely have to travel over to Howard Nursery to borrow a longer trailer to haul clover traps. Matt was generous enough to offer to take our current trailer in for some maintenance. I won’t say it’s 100% with this weather, but we are hoping to open at least 10 or so traps by the end of the week.

We’re also assembling the capture equipment into backpacks and conducting a capture simulation to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

[April was featured in a Penn State Wildlife and Fisheries alumni profile.  Check it out]

-April
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section
PGClogo

 

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