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Middle Aged

Posted: April 24, 2017

Babies and old ladies (and men) get all the attention. Not this time.
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Click for larger image

Deer are awesome! 

I know you already know this and that’s why you read this blog.  But when you’re exposed to this awesomeness every day, it can get overlooked. 

Then BAM!  Something happens that reminds you of how great deer are.

This is exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I was prepping the Deer Crew Diary for your reading enjoyment.  The northern crew had a recapture in a Clover trap – nothing notable about that.  Recaptures happen all the time.  Crews get to know some deer on a first name basis!

Most of our recaptures are caught in the same trapping season. 

Sometimes they are caught in back-to-back seasons. 

Our study site does not change from year to year so crews are trapping in the same general area.  If a deer isn’t harvested (which very few are), it is still “available” for capture.

Fawns are the pinnacle of cuteness and they get the lion’s share of blog coverage when fawn season rolls around (less than a month away!). 

Then there is the geriatric deer crowd. We have to marvel at the old ladies and old men that reappear in trail camera photos and harvest reports.

The deer that was recaptured on March 20 was not a spotted package of sweetness or an over-the-hill teenager. Doe 10772 was solidly middle-aged, an overlooked age bracket.  

“Middle age” carries with it a lot of baggage.  Middle age is defined as “the period between early adulthood and old age.”  Google middle age and you are bombarded with results like 25 Surefire Signs You’ve Finally Hit Middle Age and 40 Signs You Are Middle Aged.  Most are not flattering.

Let’s face it.  Being in the middle kind of sucks.  Ever been in the middle seat on a plane?  Caught in the middle of a family feud?  In the middle of a shower when the hot water runs out?  I rest my case.

Back to Ms. 10772.  She was originally captured as adult on March 8, 2011 as part of a 4 WMU study evaluating concurrent firearms season.  Which means she is a minimum of 8 years old this year (born in 2009).

Is there anything particularly special or unique about Ms. 10772?  Not really.  Then why am I dedicating a blog post to her recapture?  Why not, I say.  

We haven’t seen her in 6 years.  And guess what.  She looks great!  See for yourself.

Sure, the font on her iPhone has mysteriously become too tiny and blurry and she misplaces her keys on a regular basis.  Ok, maybe I’m projecting.  

Actually, middle age might be the easiest place to be for a deer.  She has made it through the hazards of youth, knows the woods like the back of her hoof, and still has plenty of teeth left to chow down.  So she had a momentary lapse of judgement stepping into our Clover trap…again.  It happens.  

Enjoy the middle years Ms. 10772.  You deserve it!

-Jeannine Fleegle, wildlife biologist
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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