[Comments in brackets are bt Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
The weekend storm that brought frigid temperatures and 13” of snow has halted productivity preventing further deployment of Clover traps and impeding travel through the forest. We’ve begun our love/hate relationship with tire chains, and although cumbersome, they’ve been essential in allowing us to access trap sites. I’d like to think we’ve achieved NASCAR pit crew status in terms of throwing them on the trucks.
The trucks have also taken a major hit this week with a variety of issues for each vehicle, including not starting, 4WD not engaging, a fuel pump issue, and a cracked windshield. At this point, we strongly feel it would be more cost-effective and time-efficient for us to channel our inner Iditarod and operate via dogsled. Although it’s definitely frustrating, the crew deserves a special shoutout this week for their good attitudes while putting up with subzero temperatures and being sidelined with temperamental gear.
The deer have been coming consistently to the traps we have deployed. It was very evident at most sites deer are willing to venture inside for the free handout. The day right before we set the traps for capture, we even came across a small doe inside the trap as we drove up to rebait it! Other notable encounters included a doe feeding outside of a trap, and a large buck near one of the rocket net sites. These are all good omens, right?
Things did indeed get better on Saturday as we got our first captures of the season, with 3 new deer and 2 recaptures! The first, a scrappy little female fawn, was a very good first capture to get our feet wet. But after that we also got tossed around like rag dolls by a couple large bucks. Not only is the size difference obvious, but so are the vocalizations by the different aged deer, ranging from the lamb-in-distress like crying of fawns to the slightly more intimidating “roar” of mature bucks.
The crew did a great job, processing and tagging the animals. We were also able to outfit an adult doe with a GPS collar for the southern half of the study area.
Although they’re new to this, the crew did an excellent job, processing and tagging the animals quickly. Despite not having all traps out yet, we couldn’t have asked for a better first day of trapping.
We’ve continued baiting other traplines to put out the rest of our traps hopefully by next week.
Field Crew Leader
From the Southern Crew:
With snowmaggedon expected we took Monday off. After a nice, snowy weekend, the crew was out Tuesday morning setting the Clover traps in Rothrock. Some of the roads were a little too difficult to travel so they ended up setting 11 of the 15.
Wednesday was the moment of truth. Our first trap was a far walk and the crew was getting excited, but unfortunately no deer. After a couple more stops, we were rewarded. Our first deer!
It was mature buck that had already dropped his antlers making our first capture an exciting one. We caught second adult buck that had dropped his antlers too.
We had to shut down 3 more traps. They were already difficult to get to and with freezing rain in the forecast we weren’t going to take any chances.
Thursday morning we set out to check our 8 traps and low and behold we captured two more bucks, one adult and one juvenile. We set up a rocket net and the plan is to trap there next week. We have 3-4 deer coming in around 6PM every night, so fingers crossed!
Field Crew Leader
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