Clover trapped deer with 2 crew members

[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

With fourteen captures, it was another big trapping week! Our single biggest capture day this season is four captures, and we had two four-deer days this week. We had 2 successful rocket nets launches – one was on a bitterly cold night and the other had us up at 0400. Morning rocket sittings are a welcome change to our normal late nights. We heard geese honking, ducks quacking, and a nearby woodcock display. We even saw a bobcat walk across the field, which we initially mistook for a deer! 

Our biggest challenge this week came in the form of a flat tire. I had only changed one tire previously (during last year’s season!), and the rest of the crew had no experience. We managed to figure it out together. Here’s to new experiences and life skills! 

truck with no tire

The air is still a bit chilly at times, but more signs of spring are appearing every day. The first flowers are starting to bloom; moss, ferns, and clover are appearing everywhere; and we even spotted frog eggs in a small pool! The ducks are out and about – hooded mergansers, mallards, and some common mergansers as well!

We are still going strong hoping to trap for a little while longer. I would like to give a special shout out to Andrew, a volunteer who joined us for several days this week! We had a lot going on and appreciated the help! 

-Carolyn
Northern Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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From the Southern Crew:

While the whole world comes to a screeching halt due to the threat of COVID-19, deer trapping marches on.  However, the deer are no longer cooperating as we had a season low of 2 captures this week.  With the warmer weather, I guess it’s to be expected that the risk of entering the traps is beginning to outweigh the reward of a free meal. 

Flower blooming in leaf liter

Aside from those couple of captures, one of our collared does sent us on a wild goose chase in Bald Eagle.  I had received a mortality email with GPS coordinates where her carcass and/or collar was supposedly laying.  So the crew and I headed out to investigate.  When we got the truck as close as we possibly could, we were still about a mile away from the location.  Just to double check, we broke out the telemetry gear to see if we could pick her up. The pulse of the collar was beeping very rapidly indicating that she should indeed be dead. Fortunately, we were able to follow a decent trail, but the terrain was incredibly steep. I think she was more mountain goat than white-tailed deer.  

Upon arrival, we found no sign of her, despite the apparent mortality signal.  So we trekked back up the mountain, and picked her up with telemetry.  This time we really homed in on her to see if we could get a visual. We got fairly close then heard brush cracking. The direction of the signal followed.  Although we never laid eyes on her, I think it’s safe to assume she is in fact alive and well.  We’ll just have to keep an eye on her and hope the collar corrects itself.  

One of the more exciting things we saw this week was in no way related to deer. When we were checking traps at the end of the week, we saw this long brown creature slinking along a drainage ditch.  It was hard to identify at first, but the giant weasel waited long enough for us to get an excellent sighting!  Not long enough to get a picture, but very cool nonetheless.  I didn’t know how robust fisher populations were in the southern half of PA.  I wonder how many more are slinking around out there?

-Ben
Southern Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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