Deer Crew Diaries - Entry 54
Posted: February 16, 2017
[Comment in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
Dear deer people,
We were only able to dedicate 3 days to trap-checks this week on account of snowmobile training on Thursday. But I think everyone appreciated the opportunity to get certified and cruise around on a snowmobile. We were especially lucky that it snowed a few inches the night before, otherwise there would have been no cruising around!
We had 7 captures this week in the Susquehannock. PGC forestry division chief, Dave Gustafson, joined us in the field on Wednesday to help check Clover trap and sit a rocket net. We had several deer come in to the net that night, but they wouldn't commit to the corn (party-poopers). After reviewing trail cam photos from that same net, we apparently missed out on a smorgasbord of deer Monday night--8 at once! [the rocket net would likely not have caught all of them – a couple always manage to slip out] It was impressive compared to what we're used to seeing.
Friday, the crew split up to divide and conquer. Emma met with April in the morning to swap some supplies. Half of the crew began pulling a few traplines that had gone stale, while the other half worked on dropping collars. We were disappointed to find bear tracks on yet another trapline that we'd pre-baited. We had to cancel plans to set traps there despite it being a productive area last year. Someone needs to inform these bears it’s still sleepytime...
We had eyes on one of our low-battery deer no more than 100 yards away for a 2-3 minutes, but the collar seemed unresponsive to our drop-off device. New batteries, antenna connections secure, double-checked the drop-off code... but still no luck. This might explain why previous attempts failed as well. We're not sure what else to do now other than hope she wanders into one of our traps. We're going to test the drop-off device on another collar that needs to be dropped this week and confirm it's still functional.
This upcoming week, we're hoping to make up for lost time and potentially keep traps open Saturday since I can't work President's Day. Also, fingers crossed that we can finally get that dead-battery doe under a net with some of her pals!
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
We had a slower trapping week here in the Southern Study Area with a total of 3 captures, all in Rothrock. The week started off well with two captures in the same day on the same trap line. We captured an adult doe and attempted a VIT, but it was a no-go. We decided to abort the VIT/VIT collar and fit her with regular (non-VIT) GPS collar instead.
In a separate trap, we captured a mature, un-antlered buck that decided to relieve himself while we were processing him. We fitted the buck with some bling and sent him on his way. We also captured our first VIT doe (from 1/29) for a third time. We’ve established that she’s become a freeloader like the GPS-collared buck that we captured in the south 6 times last year.
We moved 3 traps to some hot spots on Wednesday and attended a snowmobile training at the DCNR office in Emporium on Thursday. Wyatt and I went out looking for the 2014 buck “mort” again. We found the collar with the drop-off mechanism open, which means that the buck is still out in Bald Eagle running around, just without his fancy neck jewelry.
Friday, I met briefly with the northern crew to exchange some supplies. My crew conducted baiting and then met me at a rocket net site in the late afternoon. Not a single creature stirred that night.
According to the cameras, we should’ve expected a herd of at least 4-6 deer feeding between 5:30-7:30 PM. The full moon and 5 inches of snow on the ground brought about the right conditions. The wind wasn’t an issue either, but they did not show. We revisited the site on Sunday but it was quiet and the corn was still there. Even with the milder weather last year, this was one of our most active trapping sites.
We plan to move one of our larger trap lines by the end of next week to new locations. Depending on how the first few days of Clover trapping go, we may close the traps and finish the week off with a couple of days of rocket netting instead.
It’s interesting to note that plenty of our Clover trap sites have deer tracks going through them, in front of them and even circling them, but the deer have yet to be intrigued [or hungry] enough to enter the traps. The extended forecast is showing another warm and mucky week, so I guess we’ll just have to ride it out!
Field Crew Leader
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