[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
Trapping hit a lull this week while we prepare to move to some new trap lines. We had planned to set up one new trap line during the week and another on the weekend, but our plans were interrupted by a series of unfortunate events.
We got a few inches of snow overnight Tuesday, but we didn’t think it would cause much trouble – until we got back into the forest and realized it had been sleeting there for the past few hours! The consistency of the snow on the trails changed , and we kept getting stuck in areas that we used to be able to drive through with no problem. A big thanks to the DCNR trail groomers for pulling our trucks out of the snow twice this week!
It wasn’t all bad, though. While we were stuck, several groups of friendly snowmobilers stopped to see if we needed help — we had a few nice conversations about the project and the state forest, and even met someone who had volunteered on the Deer-Forest Study last year.
On top of the snow conditions, one of our trucks is still in the shop, and another one needs service before we can use it to tow traps out into the field. Next week seems like it’ll be more productive. Our goal is to set up two to three new traplines by the end of the week…if the deer keep coming to the bait and the trucks stay in working order. The trailer is loaded and ready to go tomorrow!
Northern Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
This was a very slow week for deer captures in the Southern DFS area. A lot of that is due to us trying to plan around this weather and opting not to set traps for 3 nights this week. With weather calling for a foot of snow on Monday then an additional 8 inches on Wednesday night through Thursday, we decided not to have traps set those nights. We didn’t need a repeat of earlier this month when we set traps followed by 18+ inches that had us scrambling.
We were happy when that first foot of snow turned into freezing rain. It may have turned our traps into solid popsicles but at least we could still drive into them! It took some serious stretching of the net to get the doors to shut properly with all that ice. Some of the doors needed to have a thick birch or maple stick zip-tied to bottom so they were heavy enough to drop due to the ice build-up in the netting. Our deer trapping has still been limited to Rothrock State forest. We are anxiously waiting for some sleds so that we can finally access the Bald Eagle side of our study area.
This was also a bad week for leathermans. Somehow in the same day, 3 of the 4 of us all lost our leathermans at different points. Talk about having a little panic attack when you reach for where your multi-tool ALWAYS is and there is nothing but empty space! Thankfully it wasn’t all too hard to retrace our steps to find them. I sat mine on top of a tire while putting on chains and then drove away leaving it in a little hole in the middle of the road. Makayla did almost the same thing. She forgot hers on the hood and we found it 200 yards down the road. Bailey’s flipped out of her pocket while scouting some new sites. Sammi was the only one able to hold onto hers that day!
Have a good week!
Southern Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section