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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry 53

Posted: February 8, 2017

The fickle winter isn’t stopping our crews.

[Comments in brackets by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

Dear deer people,

I never thought I'd say this during trapping season, but there might actually be such a thing as "too much" snow... I know! I'm just as surprised as you are by this revelation [there is most certainly a thing as too much snow during trapping – it’s a delicate balance between keeping deer hungry and interested and keeping traps open and roads clear for travel]. 

With it snowing seemingly nonstop last week, we could hardly keep our bait uncovered long enough for the deer to find it. I'm not complaining just yet though. The forecast is calling for highs above freezing most of next week and pouring rain Tuesday/Wednesday...I take back what I said. Snow, we love you! Please stay.

All in all, it was a great week for trapping. We caught 17 deer in Susquehannock. To top off the week, we launched our first rocket net of the year on Wednesday and caught an adult buck. We've been sitting this particular net because there is a doe with a dead collar we need to drop off. Coincidentally, she was at the net less than an hour before we got there Wednesday afternoon! [Murphy’s Law]  We'll get her next time.

This doe had a VIT last winter, but no fawns were caught as a result in the summer. Fast-forward to now, she's been showing up to the rocket net with 2 fawns... All the more reason to catch these 3 rascals at the net some evening! [It is worth noting that these fawns may not be hers.  Previous genetic research we conducted has shown that deer trapped together in winter are only related about half of the time]

Dead battery VIT Doe & Fawns

We did manage to drop a different low-battery collar this week. This is a well-known doe in the area, dubbed "Daisy" by the locals. She had been collared since 2013, 4 long years! So we took a little weight off the old girl's shoulders. I'd say she served her time.

Speaking of collared deer, we captured one of our collared fawns from last summer on a trail cam. He managed to walk all the way into a Clover trap, eat some corn over the trip wire, and walk out without setting the door off. Smart or lucky? Based on our record with fawn recaptures, I'm guessing the latter. Houdini fawn

But we did capture a different fawn in that trap a few hours later, so not all was lost. 

My Energizer crew (they just don't stop!) moved a few traplines over the weekend, so hopefully that produces more new captures this week. We will be closing traps down mid-week, however, to attend snowmobile training on Thursday, courtesy of the helpful folks over at DCNR.

-Hannah
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

We've completed our first full week of trapping. We had about 4-5 inches of snow on the ground at one point, which was just enough. We had 6 total captures this week. We captured our first deer in Bald Eagle—an adult buck! We also recaptured the VIT doe from 1/29. We took a few minutes to check out her collar, ear tags and VIT (externally). She looked well.

Thursday, we sat at our first rocket net and captured 3 deer--an adult doe and two button bucks. We attempted a VIT on the doe, but the VIT did not seat correctly, so we aborted the procedure. 

We put out the rest of our rebar in the Bald Eagle traps and set some for the end of the week. We moved a few of our traps to different areas, put two more rocket nets out, and made some necessary repairs to a rocket net.Tom & rocket net

We received mort signals for two separate 2014 GPS-collared deer—a buck and a doe. I located the doe’s collar in Rothrock. The drop-off mechanism was wide open. Turns out this doe was captured 2/1/14 and her collar was programed to automatically drop-off on 2/1/17.  It worked! 

I went looking for the buck in Bald Eagle on Friday but did not find him at the initial mort site, nor could I hardly pick up his signal. All I found at the site was plenty of deer activity. It’s on the agenda to get out and find him next week. Lastly, I conducted a collar inventory.

The ice is starting the set in, unfortunately. It’s causing us a little trouble. First, the mud puts one of our trucks in the ditch (a few weeks back) and now the ice. Two of the trucks will have to go into the garage for a tune up. 

We did, however, love the snow this week! Not only did we have better trapping conditions, but the snow assisted in strengthening crew morale and brought smiles Crew snowmanto our faces! 

What’s better than a happy crew?

The crew set all of our traps in Bald Eagle and Rothrock for a Monday check.  Also, we will be going to a snowmobile training on Thursday with the Northern Crew. 

Last week, I didn’t get to share that we also had last year’s only surviving VIT doe on camera! We dropped her collar off a few weeks back! I was excited to get her with her fawn on the trail camera. This was a different site than we initially captured her though! This is exactly 1 km from her capture site and 1.1 km from where we captured her fawn. 

-April
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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