[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
At the end of last week, we had established two new bait lines that looked promising, and we hoped to have some traps out by the end of this week. However, the deer aren’t actually coming to the bait. A couple sites are doing well, so we put a trap out at one. The others have had deer visit once and then never again, or not at all. Interestingly, some of the areas we baited had heavy deer sign through last week but haven’t had any new sign since.
The abrupt disappearance of deer sign coincides with the change in weather – warmer temperatures and snow melting in some areas especially places that receive a lot of sun. Has this caused a change in deer movements? Either way, we’ll keep baiting those lines and hope deer hit the bait soon. Luckily, we’ve got another promising bait line ready for traps this week. We’re just waiting for snowmobiles to use to get back there.
Speaking of snowmobiles, we had snowmobile training scheduled so we can use snowmobiles to access the harder-to-reach trapping areas. Everyone on the crew is looking forward to never getting a truck stuck in snow again (knock on wood)! With warmer weather in the forecast, we’re going to work as quickly as possible to get traps out along the snowmobile trails while the good trail conditions last.
We’ve had some concerns about one of our trucks producing a strong rubbery smell when it’s working hard in the snow. I have an oil change appointment for it and they’re going to check it out for us.
Northern Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
It’s been a good trapping week for us in the Southern Deer Forest study area! We were still only capturing deer in the Rothrock portion but plan on concentrating heavily in Bald Eagle next week. So this was our last big push for deer on that side. Our captures were a mixture of new (never been captured) deer along with a few 2021 recaptures but we have also had a handful of re-caps from previous years.
I don’t know the history of every deer we catch but we caught a doe that was still sporting the old silver tags that we previously used on some deer. I remember using these old tags back in my very first PGC position helping with fawn captures in 2015. Hopefully, we can get an update on where and when she was originally tagged! [she was captured in 2015 as an adult doe, which means she is at least 7 years old]
I’m sure you have noticed but we are going through a pretty dramatic spring thaw in the last couple of days. Due to the heavy amounts of slush in the road and the ice bed underneath, we still need to chain up our trucks. However, we have noticed that many people must also be getting a touch of ‘spring fever’ and are trying to drive into the state forest. We have had to help many people either dig their way out or simply provide instruction on how to drive in the conditions and where they can safely turn around to get out. Thankfully, we haven’t encountered a disabled vehicle that is blocking our way to a trap yet.
We have been trying to prepare for taking snowmobiles to check and set traps in Bald Eagle. We’ve got the snowmobiles but need a trailer for transport. Well, after digging it out and flipping it over to knock some snow off, the plywood deck of the trailer just fell off in large rotten chunks while the bolts holding it on were rust welded to the frame. After a quick trip to the hardware store and some help, we were able to make fairly quick work of getting the snowmobile trailer ready for duty.
Once all of our equipment was in order, we were able to attend snowmobile training with DCNR. Now that everybody is officially trained on the equipment, we can head out into previously abandoned portions of our study area and catch some deer!
Southern Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section