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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry 120

Posted: February 21, 2019

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[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

After two solid weeks of capture, our success rate dropped a bit this week with 11 captures and 5 new deer.  A combination of ice and freezing rain sidelined us from trapping for three days.  We had shifted our Clover sites at the beginning of the week in an effort to minimize recaptures.  However, our first three trapped individuals on our brand-new sites were all tagged from previous seasons!  The Susquehannock crews from the last few years had a lot of success and even though we are attempting to target new areas, we are still recapturing some of their deer. 

We transferred traplines to trails that had been consistently active. But since trap placement, it seems deer activity has come to a halt.  Either they’re a little smarter this time around (seeing their tracks right by the front of the trap), or their movements have been hindered.  We’ve had several days of freeze/thaw cycles, turning the forest floor into an icy, crust-covered layer of snow.  It’s a pain for us to tromp through.  And even though I know they’re adapted to living here, I imagine deer are not huge fans of it either.  

We got to see the buck we captured via rocket net capture last week.  Unfortunately, not under good circumstances.  Earlier in the week, his collar had entered mort mode.  Upon receiving the co-ordinates for the location of the collar, it appeared he was laying near a main road.  Sure enough, we drove to the site and found the carcass about 15 ft. off Rte. 6.  Based on his injuries and location, it’s safe to assume he met his demise via vehicle collision.  Not always easy being a deer I guess.  The good news is we were able to salvage the collar, and it’s now on a new (and hopefully more road-savvy) buck.

roadkill buck

Another notable encounter this week involved a buck whom we believe was tagged and collared as part of the fawn study conducted from 2015-2017.  After wrangling a yearling male who had ear tags at one point (both had ripped out, and we couldn’t find them), we found an old and very tattered fawn collar laying in the bottom of the trap. 

-Ben
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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From the Southern Crew:

The crew went out on the town to support Penn State’s Wildlife Society by attending their game dinner. It was great to get together outside of work and show our support to a group of individuals who love wildlife as much as us! 

Even though we hadn’t been having much success in Bald Eagle and everything this week was coated in ice, our first capture of the week was a juvenile buck! He was a frisky, little guy and after some ear tags and neck measurements, he was happy to be on his way. 

We had the perfect deer trapping Valentine’s Day!  During the morning route, we caught an adult doe in Bald Eagle. She got a new set of earrings and a necklace! 

Our “romantic” evening included “dinner with friends and fireworks in Rothrock. This was our third and final time at a rocket net site.  We fired at 9PM capturing two adult bucks! Our first successful rocket net capture!

One of the bucks was a recapture from a previous year and the other a newbie. We recorded the recaptured buck’s information and took some neck measurements. The newbie initiated with the usual process of DNA samples, tagging, neck measurements and then fitted with a GPS collar. Both bucks were released, we celebrated our Valentine’s Day victory.

-Helen
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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