[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

This week we made our fifth attempt to activate the release mechanism on one of the collars that is nearing the end of its battery life. It’s much easier to get to where the deer are now that the 2 ft of snow is gone, quieter too — we were able to sneak up and get eyes on the deer [an extremely rare occurrence!], but the collar didn’t release this time either. [skunked again!]

A couple days later we got a mortality alert from a doe collar and went to investigate. We found the carcass floating in a pond. This provided a good opportunity to test our blow-off device, so we plugged in the collar release code and fired! After using words like “detonate” and “blow-off mechanism,” I expected something more dramatic. But all we heard was a tiny “click”, and the collar popped open. 

On Friday evening we finished up our last FLIR surveys. With our work for the season done, the three technicians set off on Saturday morning to report to their next jobs in Minnesota, Montana, and California (making cross-country drives every few months is just part of the wildlife tech lifestyle). Thank you to Haley, Morgan, and Jake for their tireless hard work and enthusiasm that helped make this season a success!

Coming up this week is data management, equipment repair, and truck maintenance – all the boring parts of field work.

Northern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section

From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

Another week of evening and nighttime FLIR surveys. We are still seeing plenty of porcupines but the crew finally spotted a bobcat! Since we haven’t seen a bobcat yet on any of our surveys, it took a hot minute for us to realize what it actually was. It wasn’t until we shined the spotlight out the window which caused him to run across a downed tree that we collectively realized we were watching a bobcat the entire time! That has been the extent of our excitement during our surveys. 

Towards the end of the week we finished our first round of surveys so now the plan is to run them in reverse direction until my crew runs out of hours finishing up their time with the Game Commission! It’s hard to believe that they are almost done.

The crew and I also took a quick trip over to Harrisburg to drop off a surplus truck as well as pick up 2 more. It all went relatively smooth until one had a dead battery and we found ourselves with no jumper cables. Thankfully somebody else recently dropped off a surplus truck which had jumper cables sitting inside! Thanks to whoever forgot those cables!

Have a good week!

Southern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section

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