From the Northern Crew:

Dear Deer People, 

This last week was pretty quiet up here in the North. Wintery weather persisted throughout most of the week which made pellet transects challenging. We were able to get 8 transects done. Tom ended up finding another shed, which somehow he spotted on the opposite hill before starting a transect. The guy has an eye for finding sheds! 

We have FLIR surveys to do every night which allowed the crew to at least get a few hours of work in each day. We have been seeing quite a few deer. There are some off nights when the weather isn’t the best and the deer stay put, but most of the time we are seeing over 35 deer per night. We can get 3 FLIR routes done per night.  We have one more week of FLIR surveys to go to be completely done going through all the routes forward and backward. 

I caught up on office work and got everything organized and put away. I have been working on compiling all of the data from pellet and FLIR surveys. 

Friday was Tom’s last day as he is starting another job back home this coming week. So, it is down to Brian and me. Since Brian’s hours are also getting very low, I am going to spend the first part of this week finishing up the last 9 pellet transects that need to get done, so that Brian and Brandon can help with FLIR stuff through Wednesday. Brian will then be out of hours and off to his next adventure. 

I am hoping after all this walking around in the woods I am able to find a couple antler sheds along the way. 

-Nate
Field Crew Leader

PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

From the Southern Crew:

Hello all,

We spent Randi and Graham’s final week completing pellet surveys and distance sampling. Jessie prefers that we don’t collect samples in the rain when possible, so we were completely rained out two separate days this week. This is simply because sometimes it is hard to tell the bad samples from the good when the pellets are wet from the rain. 

Vernal Pool BE

We also put together two crews to complete six surveys on everyone’s favorite ridge in Bald Eagle—Knob Ridge. We pieced together surveys from two separate ridges on these particular hikes because there is limited access to both. These hikes are generally our longest depending on how we choose to complete them. Though sometimes tough depending upon the structure of the vegetation, I have always loved Knob Ridge and the adventure that it brings. 4-pt shed

This year in a thick plot covered in mountain laurel, walls of green briar and the occasional vernal pool, I found a 4-point shed that the mice found first. Brandon and I also heard a barred owl calling from atop the ridge as we descended the mountain to complete our last survey of the day. We saw a number of grouse and found areas on trails that turkeys had recently been digging through the leaf litter. We also found the world’s largest mountain laurel in one of our plots. Hopefully, that isn’t what the future holds for mountain laurel. It was scary. There are still five surveys to complete on Knob Ridge, so the fun isn’t over for me yet. 

We missed out on distance sampling twice this week. Our crew truck threatened to break down just as we were going to begin a survey in Bald Eagle on Tuesday. The truck stalled out which had occurred three other times this trapping season all ending in the truck being towed to the mechanic. This time the truck fired back up and oddly I had two bars of service to get a call out. If we would have continued with the surveys, we wouldn’t have had call service on any of our routes. I called Bret, informed him of the situation and he thought it would be best if we called it a night.  We know how finnicky the crew truck is.

Since I am now a lone ranger, I plan to spend the next few weeks working on pellet surveys when I can. I believe Bret will be helping me when he is available and I should have a volunteer helping me sporadically throughout this week. 

I wish the best to my crew in their adventures. We had a nice run this year and it was exactly that, because the deer had us running in circles. But I wouldn’t expect anything less!

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-April
Field Crew Leader

PGC Deer and Elk Section

 

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