Hand full of newts

[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

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From the Northern Crew:

It was another decent deer capture week with 9 total captures. For some reason, we have seen an increase in juveniles. We have captured ten juvenile females in the past two weeks. Previously, we had one little girl the whole season. Whatever the reason, we are happy to still be consistently catching deer despite bouts of warmer weather.

Carolyn in spring snow storm with antenna
Deer Crew Diaries 140

Speaking of the weather, we were caught a little off guard this week when the forest was suddenly white again. We were enjoying the respite from frozen fingers, icy roads, and the almost unbearable chill of dry winter air, but mother nature had other plans. The new blossoms and green grass we were growing accustomed to seeing around the forest were covered in a couple inches of snow. This time however, after only a few days, the landscape once again took on the signs of spring. Unfortunately, the floors of our traps were made even muddier than before.

Wildlife seem unfazed by the random snowstorms and cold mornings. Even the frogs and newts are out! We hear the vocalizations of the wood frogs inhabiting nearby vernal pools while checking trap lines. We heard what must have been hundreds of wood frogs on night at a rocket net. But we have yet to see one. The spring peepers are even tuning up for the season. The welcome sounds of spring are all around.

Although we are optimistic, we except deer activity to noticeably decrease any day now. For the time being, we are realizing that any one of our captures could be the last. The finality makes each capture even more special, but the season isn’t over yet. 

-Carolyn
Northern Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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From the Southern Crew:

Mud season is upon us!  Although conditions have been pretty soft for most of the season, the consistent showers recently have made life rather interesting in the Clover traps.  A captured deer seems to immediately result in a 5-inch deep mud pit. Conditions for which Carrhart bibs were not designed.  Couple that with the fact that these critters are shedding their winter coats, and you have yourself a tarred and feathered deer trapper! [This maybe the best description of spring deer trapping I’ve ever heard]

Things remained slow this week with only 3 total captures (2 recaps/1 new).  One new deer was a particularly feisty doe; she managed to shred Eduardo’s rain jacket and add several gashes to his bibs.  It’s hard to think of those serene, peaceful animals grazing in the meadow as capable of inflicting such damage, and yet those hooves are quite effective weapons. 

We came very close to having a successful rocket capture this week, probably about 30 seconds from firing if it wasn’t for a very cagey doe.  She approached the set up but was on edge the whole time. She knew something was a little fishy.  Instead of getting within range, she snorted warning every other deer in the vicinity to flee [I’ve name called more than one doe for doing this at a trap site]. 

We made what is most likely our last trap transfer of the season.  We did manage to find some new spots that had plenty of abundant sign, but we’ve learned that’s not always a guarantee for success.  We anticipate next week being the last full week of trapping. Although we’re limping to the finish, we only need a few more deer to break 50 captures for the season.  C’mon deer! 

Ben
Southern Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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