From the Northern Crew:
It was another slow week deer trapping, but the one adult buck we did manage to capture put up a fight equivalent to that of several deer. Definitively the largest and strongest deer we’ve captured this season. Every person on the crew got time in the trap with him as it took at least two people restraining at all times. Even starting to tire, he was able to hold two people off the ground. He was a real challenge, but a welcome one during a slow week.
While the captures were down for this week, we kept plenty busy. Following some warmer weather, the forest roads were able to thaw enough to create a slushy mess. Our first couple of stuck trucks occurred this week, frustrating but also a great learning opportunity for the crew members with little winter road experience. We worked tirelessly digging out the wheels and placing sticks and chains behind the tires to no avail. After a lot of perseverance and stubbornness, we made some calls and were very appreciative of the local DCNR office’s help. While we did require help this time, we were able to get ourselves out of several similar sticky (or more accurately “snowy”) situations throughout the week without help using the same perseverance and stubbornness.
We saw a fisher scurrying across one of the forest trails and found a number of fisher tracks in the snow near one of our traps. The fisher walked right past our trap possibly even brushing the side! We have also continued to have many chickadee visitors. They are very cute and fluffy but might wear out their welcome depending on how much corn they continue to steal from our bait piles!
The weather is cold, the roads are rough, and we are not having as much trapping success as we would hope for, but we are remaining resilient and positive every day! A particularly bright and happy moment occurs on the road between our north and south traplines. We pass a very cute and fuzzy donkey who is kept in a pen just off the road. He always comes out of his shed and walks towards the fence, and we wonder if he has grown accustomed to the site of our truck coming down the road.
We hope next week brings more luck on the deer front especially as we are planning to break out the rocket nets for the first time this season!
-CarolynNorthern Crew LeaderPGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
After a large round of trap transfers, we had huge expectations for the week which were partially met. New bait sites that looked very promising proved to be a dud.
The bad luck continued with an unfortunate escape. We had a buck with one antler inside one of our Bald Eagle traps, our first racked individual of the season. Right as we were about to open the purse net to restrain him, he tore a hole in the side of the trap and took off. The good news is this cloud of bad luck would eventually leave us. You could say that we robbed the nursery this week, as almost all of our captures were fawns; as such, they didn’t receive any GPS collars. It’s ok though, as we embrace all willing participants with open arms! We did have one recapture from 2018, a Bald Eagle buck who was tagged then as an approx. 8-month-old fawn which mean he’s a little over 2.5 years old now.
One of our non-capture adventures this week involved the drop-off of a collar from a doe who was captured back in 2017. The 3-year battery life deadline of the collar was quickly approaching so it was important to get it back for refurbishing for future use. Based on her GPS collar data, she really didn’t move far from her capture site. However, that still didn’t make it any easier to find her.
After one failed attempt, we tried again but had to work a little harder. She frequents an area littered with stream bottoms and gullies making telemetry tracking a bit difficult. After climbing up and down what seemed like every hill on the property, we were rewarded with a dropped collar. Never have I been so relieved! And although she probably didn’t enjoy us following her, I’m sure the doe is grateful to have lost her high-tech necklace.
-Ben, Southern Crew LeaderPGC Deer and Elk Section
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