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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry 95

Posted: December 6, 2017

Prepping equipment, mortality runs, and lots of deer heads.

[Comment in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

Dear Deer People, 

Another week has come to a close here in the deer world and more does and fawns have surrendered their collars. 

On Monday, I started off my day with a hike to the top of a mountain in search for a malfunctioning doe collar. This collar had not given us any locations or data of any kind since December of 2016!  Even though it had been offline for almost a year, it sent a mortality email last Sunday. Since we didn’t have any location data, it was up to me to find it given its last recorded location. 

I drove to the last known location to see if the VHF signal was transmitting.  It was!  It was hard to get a reading with steep mountain side and valley. I started my trek uphill in search for a stronger signal. The farther I went, the stronger the signal, so I tried to send out a drop signal.  I slowly followed the signal all the way to the summit and started to round the top when the lonely collar was discovered. There were no signs of mortality or a carcass and the collar lay on top of fresh deer tracks. The doe was most certainly still alive. 

After this morning workout, I continued a mortality check and headed to the office to stocked capture packs for this winter. 

On Tuesday, I completed my first round of locations on the remaining fawns. Earlier this last month, I had cleaned out all the trucks after they were all tuned up and out of the shop. Now, it was time to go get them all stocked up. Tire chains, extraction straps, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits. They are ready to roll! 

On Wednesday, I collected a doe collar from a successful hunter. After returning, I fitted all the trucks with tire chains and made sure they all fitted correctly. 

I got a mortality signal blaring across my receiver from a fawn collar, but upon investigation I found that it was only a ripped/slipped collar with no signs of mortality. It is always very interesting going in on these mortality signals, because you never know what you are going to find. I feel like a crime detective looking for every detail about the scene once the collar is discovered. 

Next week I will continue with fawn monitoring and mortality investigations through the end of rifle season. I will also be finishing up winter trapping prep. I have been working on making a detailed map of all my trapping and driving routes which should be almost finished by the end of this week. 

-Nate
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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From the Southern Crew:

Hello all, 

My week began on Sunday with a "pre-opening day of rifle" mort run. All signals were heard for the remaining fawns! 

I took Monday off, since PA's woods are always full of enthusiastic hunters looking to harvest a deer on opening day! I normally head to my home to sit at least part of the day in the woods. However, this year, my sister had me at David's Bridal trying on bridesmaids dresses for her wedding. Not quite the experience I had planned for on Nov 27th! 

Tuesday was a busy day between fawn monitoring, scouting Bald Eagle State Forest for new rocket net sites, and checking the status of the old sites. Pete, the Bald Eagle Forester, arranged to have some of my rocket net sites mowed this coming week! This will make the 2018 trapping crew's life easier.new rocket net site

I didn't discover any new areas large enough for a rocket net. I did find some new potential clover trapping sites though. Pete also mentioned one site that I never thought to use, mostly because grasses have grown up. Pete's team is planning to mow it for us next week. I also had to whip out the 'ol chainsaw while exploring some trails for trapping. Been a few months since I've said that! 

I received a phone call from a landowner who harvested a tagged 9-point buck! He was very surprised, excited, and willing to share all information. We tagged this buck on January 29, 2017. He was our very first capture of the 2017 trapping season. 

The same day, while in Bald Eagle, I ran into a man and his son who had shot one of our collared does opening day in Rothrock. I had just heard about this harvest from Tess that morning. The boy was all wound up and excited. Rightfully so! I looked the doe up and determined she was collared in 2015. They didn't have the collar with them, so I'll need to swing by and pick it up. 

I joined an official PGC deer aging crew this year. I worked with 2 foresters in mostly Huntingdon and Blair Counties. Between, Wednesday and Thursday, we aged around 410 deer. We also collected heads from Bedford/Blair Co for CWD testing. 

Thursday morning while I was aging, I received a call from a former crew member about one of my collared does hit on a busy roadway in the Southern Study Area. I obviously couldn't do much about it from Blair County, but decided I better at least go look for her at the end of the day. By the time I arrived, it was dark, rainy and traffic was heavily flying by at a steady pace of 55 mph. The collar was gone already. I quickly looked over her, jotted down the tag numbers, and decided to return first thing in the morning. 

I returned around 0800. After about 5 minutes, I noticed a WCO vehicle pulled up behind me. Turns out he removed the collar from her neck. 

After talking to Bret and Justin on the phone, I removed the doe's jaw and began dragging her up to the road to be taken to the ADL to be necropsied. She was hefty, and luckily for me, two men offered to help. After turning down help about 5 minutes earlier, I peered down at the deer, briefly pondered how I was going to get her into the bed of the truck all by myself and quickly responded with a "Well, if you're up for it!" Both men were dressed up in nice button up shirts and khakis, but didn't hesitate to get dirty and lend a hand. They even helped me get her in the bed of the truck! As a deer collared in 2014, you can imagine she was quite the nice sized doe! 

Next week, I'm deer aging until Tuesday. I'll also conduct a few mort runs and pick up the Rothrock doe collar. Auto reports are also due this week. Otherwise, I hope to have time to continue to prep for winter trapping. 

-April
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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