Recaptures are a part of deer trapping. You read this in some of the crew diaries. Recaptures increase the longer a trap is in the same area and if you get a trap happy deer. Recaptures are kind of a wasted capture. Still takes crew time and energy but this has no project benefit.

Sometimes though recaptures can be fun and interesting. The northern crew recently got acquainted with a long time study participant.

Buck 12842 was first captured on Valentine’s Day in 2017 as an adult (minimum age of 2 years old in 2017). He was outfitted with ear tags and a GPS collar. Unfortunately, the collar was malfunctioning, so it was dropped shortly after. But as luck would have it, he wandered into the Clover trap again on March 27 and the crew outfitted him with their last buck collar. Two days later trapping season ended for the year.

Not much happens with deer in the summer on the Deer Forest Study. Long time blog readers know that if a deer lives through hunting season, it’s smooth sailing until the next hunting season. Buck 12842 lived through the summer as expected, but Duane received an email with a concerning photo of him on September 8, 2017. That collar was causing quite a bit of difficulty, so it was dropped on September 11.

As you can guess, this would not be the last time we would see Buck 12842. He visited twice in 2018; 4 times in 2019; and 4 times in 2020. Apparently, that collar mishap in 2017 didn’t deter Buck 12842 from pressing his luck.

Buck 12842 is at least 6 years old and his swagger is still intact as the 2021 northern crew got to meet the veteran study participant on March 6.

Amanda was pretty excited to learn the history of Buck 12842 and we were even more excited to learn that she fitted him with his second collar. She notes that he was so large and difficult to restrain even with 2 people that they decided to sedate him for everyone’s safety. Deer captured in Clover traps are not sedated as they are processed and released before drugs can adequately take effect.

So what secrets will be revealed with this new collar? We only have locations for Buck 12842 from March-September 2017. Will we see a difference 5 years later?

We’ve had bucks collared for multiple years before. Their movements are not that remarkable from year to year. It’s home and that’s where they stay. Of course, finding exactly what room of the house they are in come November or December is easier said than done. Buck 12842 hasn’t had a problem outsmarting all hunters in the area for the last 5+ years.

-Jeannine Fleegle
Wildlife Biologist
Deer and Elk Section, Game Commission

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