[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
We’ve had a pretty successful week up here in the northern study area with at least one deer every day and a couple of four-deer days. We’re down to two collars to put out, and the end is in sight. The snow may be gone, but the deer are still hungry for now. They do seem to be getting more wary of traps as the weather warms. The deer at our rocket nets started coming in at odd times usually in the middle of the night. So we’ve moved to new rocket net sites and started getting some consistent afternoon/evening activity at a few. It’s the last push of the season and we’re hoping to switch to a new trapline for some fresh captures and maybe get a successful rocket net shot or two off before we wrap up!
One consequence of the warming weather is that we’re starting to see bear activity. Mostly scat, but we did see a yearling bear in an area that we had been baiting. Well, we had to give up on those sites because Jimbo (as we named him) was seen loitering several days in a row presumably eating our corn. We just moved to bait other areas instead.
Our most notable deer capture of the week was an incredibly large doe with piebald hooves! She got a collar so I’m excited to see where she goes.
Northern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
Last week was a pretty good success down in the Southern Deer Forest study area. The week began with some fresh snowfall of about 5 or 6 inches. We thought that the fresh snowfall would actually help push some deer into our Clover traps but apparently, they had other plans. On Monday, Bret joined us in the field and must have brought us some luck because we captured a button buck that day! No, he wasn’t getting in the trap with the deer, but he provided plenty of emotional support…Thanks Bret!
On Tuesday, the plan was to check traps set in both Rothrock and Bald Eagle and then to sit on a rocket net that looked promising. Typically, 6 deer were coming in – one already had a collar, but there was a nice doe among the group that we had our sights on for another possible collar. After setting up the rockets, Sarah got settled in her tree stand. She’d be operating completely solo because there was no spot for a blind. This meant she would be spotting the deer, making sure they were in position, and setting off the rockets.
A few hours later, as we sat in the blind listening to a woodcock doing his song and dance, the explosions went off. We ran up the hill to find 5 deer under the net! All of them with fresh tagless ears and no collars. Among the 5 deer was our doe that fit her collar very nicely, an adult buck, and 3 fawns. The crew and I didn’t finish up until about 0100. Then it was up and at ‘em to check our Clovers the next morning. We caught 2 more adults in Bald Eagle! A buck, and an old doe whose neck was a little small for a collar. So she just received tags. We didn’t catch any additional deer last week, but it was a very busy and exciting 12 hours.
In other spring news, the verbal pools [actually, that was a typo, but verbal/vernal fits given the noise made!] are exploding with life down here in the south. There are more wood frogs (and wood frog eggs) than you can shake a stick at. There were even a few spring peepers on the warmer nights. We did spot a few salamander eggs in the pools as well and also found a Jefferson salamander! The crew and I are eager to go slightly nocturnal these next 2 weeks and do as much rocket netting as we can!
Have a good week!
Southern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section