From the Northern Crew:
Dear Deer People,
We placed the rest of our clover traps out. We set up some new baits and even a rocket net. Many of our bait sites are getting hit, so we were excited to get traps placed. The rocket net site is already getting destroyed by multiple deer.
The deer are already getting used to the traps walking all around them and eating some of the bait nearby, so we started staking in our traps – the last step to go before we would be catching our first deer. We still left the traps wired open, but made sure everything else was there and ready to go.
We keep chipping away at the “blow off if you have time” collars. We headed down one of our future trap lines in search for a collar that was put out in 2016 in hopes we could actually hear the VHF signal. Indeed we could, so off we went. We normally start sending out drop off codes right away and continue doing so every 50 meters or so on the way in to ensure that the collar will drop. We were starting to get very close and I even started looking closer at the ground thinking we were almost on top of it. Then, the signal began to get weaker, and started fading. It was still on the doe, and wasn’t properly receiving the drop off code. We drove down the trapline a bit further since it angle towards where we had ended up, and we started off again. We finally gave up after around 2 hours of chasing the signal around until we almost couldn’t hear it anymore.
On Wednesday, we started setting some of the traps. We also checked out rocket net pictures and saw 5 deer all on the bait right next to the rocket net. We went to get everything set up. I put two people in the blind and the other 3 of us sat in the truck nearby waiting for the “Bang” of the net. Deer came in, but the wind wasn’t quite right so they didn’t get too close.
Even though the rocket net was unsuccessful, we still had the Clover traps. The first trapline that we checked, we got our first capture. A wily little button buck that ended up with some new ear studs and a good story for all his friends. The next trap line had a spunky yearling doe that left with new ear tags and a fancy necklace. We were then off to our hottest line. Here we came up to a trap that had a huge adult doe in it. Kim and Brain quickly got the doe restrained and Tom and I fit her with a collar and tags.
We ended up with five deer captures on Thursday and two collars out. It was a fabulous start to the year. We re-triggered and baited everything and moved a few more traps around to some hotter spots.
We were skunked on Friday. There was only one deer to be seen, and that one was standing just outside of the trap when we arrived. If we had been a little later, we very well may have had a capture.
On Sunday, we reset the triggers all of our traps and rebaited all the sites so that we can all start off the week of the right foot.
Field Crew Leader
From the Southern Crew:
This week we focused on keeping our sites baited and getting our Clover traps out.
The crew began work on Sunday to check our pre-baited trap lines in both Rothrock and Bald Eagle. Nick and I even found a Peregrine Falcon in our travels. The bird was perched in a tree above ag land nearby a stream! I stopped along the road to listen for a collared fawn and noticed the bird. I thought, “Oh, a red-tail,” but put the binoculars up anyway to confirm. Nope! I was ecstatic!
Nick and I also conducted a partial mort run in Bald Eagle. We continue to have to hike up a ridge to reach Fawn 6650. This time, I was grateful to have someone along since it’s a rocky and slippery ridge. In the week prior, while coming down the mountain, I slipped on some wet leaves and landed on a rock. I have the bruise the size of a baseball on my hip to prove it. Nothing major, but hurt like heck. Luckily, there is cell service on that ridge.
We put traps at sites that had the corn piles cleaned out and were dug up by deer! I decided to have the crew wait to stake the traps in. We placed the trap nearby the corn pile, but not directly over top of the corn. We have done this in the past, but I thought we would try this with most of our sites this year. This would give the deer some time to get used to seeing the trap and I was hoping they wouldn’t shy away from the corn as much once the trap was placed over the corn.
Tuesday we hauled a full load of 8 traps out to Bald Eagle and spent the day focusing on baiting Bald Eagle and clearing out paths to our sites. This included rock removal, pruning trees/shrubs, filling in holes and ensuring adequate cover for our sites. We also checked our rocket net sites.
We set up a rocket net at a prime site in Rothrock. This was somewhat painful as we had to load all rocket net equipment and a 50-lb bag of corn into a sled and pull it up hill like mules since the site was not accessible by vehicle. Fun!
Thursday in preparation for the big day, I explained tackling, restraint, collars, tagging and everything in between to them since we would soon be handling deer! I wanted this information to be fresh in their minds. We assembled the backpack and fanny pack together. Afterwards, we staked half of the traps down in Bald Eagle that had been placed on Monday.
Friday finally rolled around after what literally felt like the longest week ever. We just want to trap some deer! Anywho, we placed the last of the Clover traps out, staked all Rothrock and the final traps in Bald Eagle down. Some sites were destroyed even with the clover placed nearby the corn, so we are hopeful for some captures this coming Monday.
This coming Sunday we are working to set all 30 traps to begin catching deer on Monday. So, hopefully this is our week! Wish us luck!
Field Crew Leader
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