crew member putting chains on and atv

From the Northern Crew:

It was a bit of a slow week for deer trapping. Our only two deer were recaptures from previous seasons. They were difficult to restrain and gave our crew quite a bit of trouble suggesting that they had definitely done this sort of thing before. While our tackles may not have been as graceful as the pros we watched on TV just a couple nights before, we were able to get the job done and send them on their way. 

Following heavy snowfall, the forest roads were the most challenging we have had yet. The possibility of getting the trucks stuck was on everyone’s mind. After a few narrow escapes, we chose to break out the tire chains for the first time this season. Putting on tire chains was a grueling task. We all finished with wet clothes and frozen hands. 

An exciting moment from this week occurred as we were driving along one of our trap lines. A dark and furry creature darted out into the road. We believe it was a fisher, a creature some of us had never even seen before! We also saw a belted kingfisher and several barred owls (the binoculars we carry have been coming in handy!). 

While we might be in our first deer-catching slumps of the season, we are very optimistic about next week and ready to catch more deer! -Carolyn
Northern Crew LeaderPGC Deer and Elk Section

Chained trucks

From the Southern Crew:

With a slight lull in the action, we managed 6 captures for Week 2 – including a collared buck for Rothrock, a collared doe we tagged last week (didn’t you learn anything from the first experience?), and a few fawns.  We also had our first 2-for-1 of the season with a doe and fawn in the same trap.  I ran in to wrangle the doe first then Kaj came in to take control of the fawn.  We process them quickly to get them on their way.  It was most definitely one of our more exciting captures of the season. We didn’t grab any awesome pictures because there was no time for that as it was all hands on deck.

We wish we could say there was a consistent pattern that allows us to predict if any given trap day will be successful, but so far there doesn’t seem to be any set of conditions that scream “Hey, we’re gonna catch a lot today!”  However, it does seem like we either catch 3 or 4 in a day or nothing at all.    

Roads have thankfully improved dramatically from the skating rinks they were last week. The crew earned their tire chain merit badges for the constant putting on and taking off of the temperamental contraptions. We are glad to put them away for the foreseeable future.

By the end of the week, we had moved a good number of our traps to new areas.  A few of the sites we left behind had skunked us every day for two weeks with the only reliable action being a group of five tom turkeys.  We contacted other PGC personnel who are conducting gobbler research, and hopefully, their capture efforts are more fruitful. As a general rule, if the sites haven’t produced in that timeframe, it’s probably time to jump ship and move on.  We’ve shifted some to a ridgetop that is slightly higher in elevation. It receives plenty of sunlight and melts faster than the surrounding areas.  The deer seemed to be hitting those bait piles prior to trap placement, so we hope they’ll continue dining with us despite the change in scenery.    -Ben
Southern Crew LeaderPGC Deer and Elk Section

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