[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
We’ve been pretty busy with deer captures this week, but we’re seeing a lot of recaptures in the traps that we’ve been running for a while. One deer, in particular, who was first tagged as an adult buck in 2019, has been recaptured 6 times this year! [this is the very definition of a freeloader] In fact, we’ve caught him every morning for the last four days. He’s been trapped in a couple different traps, the furthest two being about three quarters of a mile apart. He’s usually bedded down when we first approach the trap, and he doesn’t put up much of a fight when we restrain him to let him go. He knows the drill. [Apparently, it’s not hard to pattern this adult buck]
We’ll be moving traps to some new lines where we will hopefully catch some new deer. One trail that has been closed to us due to logging is now open and past crews have had a lot of success there. The benefit of using the logging road is that we won’t be sharing it with snowmobile traffic and can use it even on the weekends, so we’re looking forward to that. However, we’re watching the weather as some winter storms are in the forecast that could make taking the trailer out difficult.
We also had our first truck break-down of the season [Wow, almost 2 months without a problem – and some readers said it looked like we had some nice trucks for a change this year? LOL]. One of the trucks developed a transmission fluid leak and had to be towed to the shop. It should be fixed by next week.
Northern Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
Although we are still pretty limited with where we can actually travel in the study area, we still managed to capture a few deer! A total of 5 deer in our Clover traps but we should have had 7 or 8 due to some unfortunate trap malfunctions. Based on the tracks beside one trap, the deer squeezed itself between our trap and the rhododendrons and must have bumped the trigger bar causing the door to shut early. There were still tracks around the trap so maybe we’ll get that one next time the trap is set!
The other deer got out because although the trap had been patched up a year or so prior, the rope was very brittle. The deer was able to break enough of the rope to slip out of the patch. When checking traps, we usually give them a good kick-and-shove to check the patches but, unfortunately, we missed that one. Good news is that the Clover is all fixed up and we are only about halfway through the season so should definitely be able to capture [and hold] another deer.
We are still constantly scouting and trying to drag new traps deeper into our study area. There are 2 roads in Rothrock that are well traveled and easy for us to trap but there are already collared deer in that area. With a few collars still needing to be deployed, we are concentrating our trapping efforts elsewhere until we can get them out.
We’re hoping that this new storm doesn’t accumulate that much snow because even with all 4 tires chained it has been rough going. The crew is still learning how to drive in the snow through some hard-learned lessons. Especially since these lessons usually end with anywhere between 20-60+ min of snow shoveling. The most difficult thing is that we spend a day or two making some nice ruts with the trucks but then a pack of snowmobiles comes through and essentially “erase” our trail. And we have to start all over again. But everybody is pretty pumped about being able to wear a t-shirt this spring and show off all of their “field” muscles from shoveling pounds of snow, stacking Clovers, and restraining deer!
Have a good week!
Southern Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section