Field season is over, and the crews have pretty much disbanded. There is a lot of anxiety associated with deer trapping and it’s always a relief when we have a successful and productive year. Thanks to all!

I asked the crews for some of their favorite pictures this season. They are included in this post.

[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]

Last week was mostly spent on clean-up from the winter season, and prep work for the summer season. I returned all the FLIR survey equipment and data to Tess at Penn State. I also spent quite a few hours cleaning our rocket-net rockets. At the beginning of the season we found a bunch had seized shut, but some PB Blaster and a table vice grip helped us get them open. 

But even automotive grease on the threads wouldn’t stop them from randomly seizing again. Clearly the threads needed a good scrubbing. They also had rust, powder charge residue, and remnants of the plastic charge bags from seasons past inside them. So I opened them all up, scrubbed the inside of each tube out until the water no longer ran black and smelly, and attacked the threads of the tube and cap with a wire brush wiping away all the old gritty grease. Finally, I re-greased each rocket and replaced the caps (loosely this time!). They’re sitting on the shelf, good as new, waiting for next season. 

On Friday I visited the first of the deer-exclosure vegetation monitoring plots that we’ll be collecting data on in a few weeks. I carried some fencing, t-posts, and zip ties with me to repair the ones that were sagging or had fallen over. 

Everything is now fully green here, especially after all the rain we’ve had these past couple weeks. The streams are swollen with rainwater and if things don’t dry out soon, I’m going to need waders to access some of the veg plots. The migratory songbirds are back too. I’ve been hearing lots of warblers in the woods this week!

Northern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section

From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

Last week was another slower one as my crew mostly fixed some of the clover traps up by day and then they piled into the truck with all the equipment to do their FLIR surveys in the evening. I actually had the second half of the week off!

In the field, no news is good news as my crew would still always check in with me before they ventured out for work and then again once they returned to Penn Nursery for the night. With our FLIR surveys finished and the equipment all returned to Tess at PSU, it’s just another chapter finished for this year’s Deer Forest Study.

Bailey is the one crew member remaining with only a few hours left to work and she’ll be finished up before we know it. Both Sammie and Makayla are officially finished working for the study and have moved on to their next positions in the wildlife field. Sammi is heading up to Minnesota where she will be helping with a study on Monarch butterflies while Makayla is heading over to the Idaho panhandle to do habitat work! Based on what I’ve seen them do this season, I know that they’ll excel in any position in this field and that they would be an asset if they came back to trap deer!

Southern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section

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