From the Northern Crew:
Dear Deer People,
My crew and I are now working 6 days a week in our pursuit for the ultimate deer trapping season. The weather has been getting more deer trap worthy.
Over this week we recorded 14 captures! We had the potential for 17, but ya have to stay on your toes. The best day we had was on Monday when we caught 7 deer which should have been 8. When running up to a trap, we started opening the door to a Clover trap holding a very large, already ear tagged doe. In the process, the smart ol’ girl managed to swiftly tuck her long nose underneath the door and slip right past everyone as we stood in awe.
It was crazy how fast everything happened. Every day we designate what role everyone is going to play for the day. For example, Primary restrainer, Secondary restrainer, purse netter/processor and data recorder/drug handler. We now make sure especially on these very large mature deer that both restrainers are at the door before we try to enter.
We also had our first successful rocket net. We have been setting up and monitoring multiple rocket net sites all week. During our observation of this net, we had been seeing quite a few deer coming in, but one adult buck caught our eye. The deer were coming in around 1730 every night. Tom and Brian were sitting in the blind while Kim and I stayed down the trail a bit in the truck. Let the waiting game begin. A little past 1900. BOOM!!! We quickly got to work on the lone buck and fitted him with a fancy new necklace. He is now back on camera every night, along with a bunch of does.
Out of the 14 deer that we caught this week, 11 of them were bucks. This greatly surprised me since my original assumption was that bucks would be more difficult to capture.
The roads this week were the worst that I have seen in a long time. After having a warmer weekend which melted most of the snow, it then became bitter cold with snowy conditions. Some of the less traveled roads had literally turned into lanes of very smooth endless ice. It would have been perfect for ice skating but not for driving. We went right away to putting all four tire chains on which turned out to be a good decision on the steeper stretches of the roads. We were fortunate that there were no accidents and my crew got very good at taking chains on and off the trucks.
This week we are going to start moving some of our traplines and expanding to some new territory to keep the deer coming to the traps. We also have 5 rocket nets out that we will start taking turns sitting on nights the weather cooperates.
Field Crew Leader
From the Southern Crew:
Well, the first official week of 2018 deer trapping is in the books! Somewhat wild, but successful.
This week, we captured a total of 9 deer in our Clover traps. Four deer in Bald Eagle received GPS collars in the first two days of trapping. We had 5 new captures and put three GPS collars out in Bald Eagle on the very first day alone. I won’t lie, I was a bit stunned. One yearling buck in Rothrock was a recapture from last year and I remembered exactly where we caught him last March. In the notes, we had written that he was very lively. Well, not much has changed there.
We had a good week; however, trapping isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We’ve had a good amount of firsts (since I have been on) this year already, some good and some not so good.
Our best firsts were capturing and collaring two adult deer (buck and doe) in one trap and getting three collars out in Bald Eagle on our very first day!
The second most interesting was capturing a Barred Owl in a Clover trap on Friday! He/she must have been after the rodents sampling the corn. He/she was very shy, so we ended up tying the trap door open and leaving the site to allow the owl to fly away when it felt comfortable.
A not-so-good first included realizing a majority of our Clover trap triggers were frozen on Friday; therefore, if a deer ran into the trip wire, the wire would only break and not trip the trap. Thanks for jinxing us, Jeannine [Any time! For readers, someone just asked us via @WTDresearch how we dealt with frozen triggers. Never had to…until now. Sorry April!]. Thursday’s rain and Friday’s below freezing temps didn’t help either.
Another first, locking my keys in my truck. My crew and I were actually talking about this scenario the day before this happened, which is likely why it happened to me [we should stop talking about things we don’t want to happen!]. I must have accidently pressed the “lock” button while reviewing trail cam images at a rocket net site. There is no set of spare keys for my truck. It took time, some innovative thinking, a few phone calls as well as chainsaw wedges, collar magnets, and a stick. And voila!
We also put two more rocket nets out in Bald Eagle and set up a few of our blinds. We are planning to sit on some rocket nets this week if the wind cooperates. We will have part of our traplines shut down next week to allow us time to focus on pre-baiting new sites and rocket netting. Here’s to another week of trapping!
Field Crew Leader
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