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Deer Crew Diaries - Entry 125

Posted: March 28, 2019

Luck is on our side.
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Click for larger image

[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

Another week of trapping is in the books, with 11 captures and 5 new deer.  Most of the snow is melted just patchy pockets here and there.  But the critters still seem to be semi-interested enough in our trap to chance an encounter.  It was kind of a weird week.  We didn’t catch any fawns which is usually the age class most likely to be reckless.  However, we gladly accepted the adults with open arms.

One of our more active participants is a buck we collared last week. We can’t age him on the hoof, but he has the grizzled appearance of an old man who has some life experience.  And he’s most definitely not trap-shy as we’ve caught him 3 times now.  Unlike most deer who instantly turn into jumping beans upon seeing our truck pull up, this fellow is fairly calm placidly accepting his fate.  After looking for his collar ID and checking that both ear tags are still attached, he’s sent on his way.  If only all deer had some manners; being a gentleman makes it easier on all of us.  

On the rocket net front, we probably had our most remarkable and convenient capture of the season.  We had just completed set-up of our rockets, wired the explosives, and were preparing for a long night of waiting when 3 deer show up not 5 minutes after we had entered the ground blind!  They had to be in the vicinity when we were getting the site ready.  Apparently, they were undeterred.  

We’re not complaining.  They headed straight to bait, gave us a great shot, and we had two does in hand.  The larger of the two receiving a GPS collar.  That was our first, and probably only, daylight rocket capture of the season.  

After wrapping up by 5:30pm, we got greedy and decided to press our luck by sitting some more in the hopes of getting more deer later that evening.  Unfortunately, all we got was a pair of bickering raccoons (although very entertaining, I’d rather not try to untangle them from the net).  

We got skunked a couple other times this week.  One night a spunky fawn and doe appeared with the fawn sprinting to the bait.  You could practically hear it yelling, “CORN!!” However, the wiser doe was much more careful in her approach and never came within range.  Holding out to catch both, we waited for an opportunity that never came as the doe beckoned the fawn with a flick of her tail and off they went.

The season is winding down, but we may try to shift some traps next week to minimize recaptures and get some new individuals tagged.  Let’s hope for continued activity and dry weather (wishful thinking?).  

-Ben
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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From the Northern Crew:

Did anyone notice that it was warm this past week? We sure did.  And we loved it! The State Forest roads were almost totally clear of ice and snow allowing all traps to be deployed and open in Bald Eagle and Rothrock state forests. Since we reached our collar quota last week in Rothrock, we moved two thirds of our traps to Bald Eagle.  The remainder will be moved in the next couple days so that our concentration is solely in Bald Eagle. walking in

The deer also seemed to enjoy the warm weather. We captured 7 deer in total – one of our best weeks in a long time. With four adult doe, we were even able to get some doe collars out which was great since they seem to be less cooperative when it comes to collars. 

clover processiing

One of the best parts of the week was hosting a group of wildlife students from Penn State Dubois, who not only were great to work with but also brought us lots of good luck. On Sunday we caught 3 deer - a huge success! It is always great to share our experiences with others, but it is even better to share them with fellow wildlifers. A special thank you to them for all their help and, of course, good luck!

-Helen
Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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