From the Northern Crew:
After hitting a little bit of a rut, I believe trapping success is on the upswing for the Potter County crew. Once Mother Nature eased her icy grip, capture numbers and deer movement have increased dramatically. We expect that trend to continue next week with the incoming warmer temperatures. Although our once icy roads will convert to mud and slush, I’d be lying if I said I’m sad about it.
We shifted several new traplines this week. One in particular seems to be paying dividends with several new deer right off the bat. We were able to deploy 3 more doe collars and have almost completed the quota for both areas of the study site.
We had a few bizarre situations involving collared does this week. On two different occasions, we hiked to the last known location of collars that had supposedly gone into mort mode. Expecting to find a carcass or perhaps a slipped collar, we were pleasantly surprised to find nothing but tracks and feeding areas where they had obviously spent the night. After breaking out the radio telemetry gear to get a bead on the whereabouts of these sneaky critters, we determined both does were very much alive and well. Whether it was a matter of collar malfunction or these animals being extremely sound (and motionless) sleepers, it’s reassuring to know the study animals are alive and kicking.
Field Crew Leader
From the Southern Crew:
After the last two weeks of minimal deer sign and captures, we were really hoping for a change. We started seeing deer sign pick up but still weren’t having anything come to our traps. Slow capture weeks do allow time for moving and establishing trap sites. So our afternoons were well spent in Bald Eagle setting up the rest of our trapline.
We had button buck in Clover and were able to capture some video of processing which is exciting. We had a capture of the non-deer variety as well this week. One of our Clovers was clearly closed but we couldn’t see anything in the trap. As we got closer, we realized it was an owl!
He flew up and landed on one of the sides. So, cameras rolling, we quietly and slowly approached the trap. It was a barred owl! He was very calm. We opened and secured the trap door then fell back and watched. A few minutes later he dropped to the ground. He preceded to drop a wing making him look much larger and clicked his beak. Eventually he flew off and we reset the trap hoping we wouldn’t find our feathered friend in there again the next day.
A Bald Eagle trap blessed us with an adult buck! He was fitted with a GPS collar leaving us with only one more buck collar to deploy in Bald Eagle. We hit our quota for buck collars in Rothrock and are hoping to have some more adult doe captures in the next few weeks of trapping.
One of our volunteers captured a little mouse that was eating in the trap. He was a friendly little guy and after some photos we released him where we found him. No wonder that owl was in our trap.
Field Crew Leader
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