Deer Crew Diaries - Entry 61
Posted: April 5, 2017
[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
Dear deer people,
The whirlwind of trapping season is finally winding down! On Monday, we deployed our last collar on a buck that we had previously captured and collared this year. His original collar wasn't contacting satellites, so we had to drop it off a few weeks later. Lucky for us, he wandered back into one of our traps just in the nick of time. We closed traps permanently on Wednesday and launched our last rocket net that evening.
Last year, my crew and I were rookies with little experience trapping deer. Even so, we managed to catch 76 deer over the season. This year most of the crew returned for a second season. We knew that we had to move traps frequently to catch the most deer. We were constantly pre-baiting new sites, most of which we didn't even know existed last year.
We also knew that we had to use a tree stand instead of a ground or truck blind to be effective rocket-netting in the Susquehannock. It took a bit more work, but it paid off. We caught 117 deer this year! Cause for celebration if you ask me. Did I hear someone say, cake?!
As we close the books on yet another trapping season, I have to give a giant shout-out to my rockstar crewbies for sticking with it through all 11 weeks and making our 2017 trapping season one for the ages! We will be shifting gears this week and transitioning to conducting pellet transects. Susquehannock poo patrollers, reporting for duty!
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
We wrapped up our deer trapping escapade and began pellet surveys.
Unfortunately, we didn’t catch any deer during the final few days. We did have one deer in a trap in Bald Eagle, but it got out before we arrived.
We pulled all of our clover traps and rocket nets and put them in storage. Thursday we began pellet surveys in Bald Eagle and conducted two mortality investigations.
Corey and I went looking for a 2014 doe mortality in Rothrock. It turned out to be a collar that was scheduled to drop-off automatically. So, she’s a free deer now.
We then tracked down a doe mortality in Bald Eagle. This deer was previously tagged in 2016 but fitted with a collar this year. We got 7 mortality emails for her from 3/17-3/26. When we first investigated the initial mort site, all we found was 2 deer beds. We listened for her everyday through 3/21 and her collar was in live mode each time. She appeared to be moving, but her condition must’ve been slowing her down.
On 3/29, I picked up a clear mortality signal but we could not find her. On 3/31, we found an untouched carcass and delivered it to the Animal Diagnostics Lab. Abscesses were found on her bladder and were submitted for testing. They are still investigating [the slides have been sent off to histology for confirmation but it appears to be a tumor associated with the bladder].
We had 44 total deer captures. I felt more prepared this year knowing what to expect with one trapping season already behind me. None of my crew members had trapped deer before, but they performed exceptionally well.
The mild winter last year was nothing compared to the mild winter this year. The crew recalls only 2-3 miserably cold nights in the blind during rocket netting in 2017. Some nights were in the 50s and I didn’t even need to wear my jacket or bibs. Last year, I recall many blistering cold nights at the rocket net. The blizzard at the end of the season was a nice touch though.
Last week, one of our famous collared fawns who was captured at Reeds Gap State Park was hit on the road. She spent a lot of time hanging near the road last summer/early fall and because of this she was known by the park staff. [Looks like she won’t be hanging out there any more :(]
Field Crew Leader
If you would like to receive email alerts of new blog posts, subscribe here.
And Follow us on Twitter @WTDresearch