snow covered forest road

[Comments in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]


From the Northern Crew:

Hi everyone,

This week we really started to focus on rocket netting since three nets were showing consistent deer activity. On our first sit, we saw deer but couldn’t quite get a shot lined up. Then on the second attempt, the same three deer made a beeline to the bait, and we got a shot off well before dark! [it’s always better to work in the daylight] Two deer were already tagged, and the third was new to the project.

crew member sitting on a masked doe caught in a rock net

We tried to follow up on that success by sitting again two nights later, but a sudden thunderstorm forced us to dismantle our rockets early and head to safety before it hit…only for us to get a flat tire on the road home! Luckily the worst of the storm passed north of us though we still had to change the tire in the rain.

picture of a front flat tire

Clover trapping is slowing down, but we have placed several new traps over the past few days in a final effort to increase our numbers. We’re at 48 deer captures and are hoping to get to 50. With only one week left, things are getting down to the wire but we’re hoping to reach our goal! The recent snowfall and cold weather may help push deer into our traps one last time.

Northern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section


From the Southern Crew:

Hi all!

Last week we were a little lower on captures compared to the week before. For the most part we were still running a few Clover traps across the study area, but not nearly as many as we were at the beginning on the year. Right now, we have been running about 7 – 12 traps at a time, compared to the 23 or so that were set in the beginning of the season. 

This is mostly due to the fact that the deer just aren’t cooperating this time of year. In addition to the deer not going in the traps, my crew is also running low on their allotted hours. So our time is best spent rocket netting. Most of our cameras are showing at least a group of 2 or 3 deer per site, some even have 6. At one site we have a bachelor group of some nice looking bucks and one young unicorn among them! It’s actually just a spike that is still holding on to his one antler…

yearling buck with only one antler in foreground and doe in background in dark

Early in the week we attempted a rocket net sit and fired but unfortunately didn’t catch any deer. There are only 3 deer, a doe and 2 fawns, that come into this site, and she is very wary of the net. At around 21:00, the deer came in and a fawn was on the bait and the doe was to its side. I could tell that she already knew I was there looking through the night vision and the second I clicked the charge button on the blaster, she started stomping and blowing. I tried to fire the rocket right away but with them being alert from her alarm they were able to outrun the net. [yes, deer can outrun rockets!]

black bear in dark on trail cam
Black bears are awake!

However, with rocket netting lows come the rocket netting highs! Later in the week at a site in Bald Eagle, we had a group of 4 deer come right in at 20:00! Which is nice since we are usually getting home after midnight. Among that group of 4 were 2 does and 2 fawns, and both of the adults are now wearing our GPS collars! Those are the first doe collars that we have been able to get out in the Bald Eagle portion of the study area so we were very happy with our trapping that night.

Hopefully next week we have some successful rockets and can get a few more doe collars out!

Have a good week!

Southern Field Crew Leader
Game Commission Deer and Elk Section

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