From the Northern Crew:
Dear deer people,
Poo patrol is well underway here in the Susquehannock. We got rained out for pellet transects most of last week and were only able to work 2 (albeit long) days. We made up for lost time by working through the weekend.
Although I can no longer feel my legs or feet, I am happy to report that the end is in sight! We have completed 64 transects in 4 days, which leaves 34 transects remaining. If all goes well, we could be done as soon as Tuesday, but likely we’ll be wrapping things up on Wednesday.
While hiking 5 miles a day through the mountains of PA can be grueling (just ask my aching knees), the rewards come in little discoveries along the way.
Like seeing dried stream beds come to life with spring snowmelt, or witnessing the first green sprouts emerging as flowers bloom, finding yourself well off the beaten path in places you are sure haven’t seen a boot print in ages, or being caught off-guard by a garter snake soaking up the sun.
Of course there is no parallel to the excitement evoked upon the discovery of deer poop ripe for the pickin’ along your pellet transect… am I right?!
Field Crew Leader
P.S. Did I mention poo patrol attire is very high fashion?
From the Southern Crew:
This is the final week for my crew members. We have completed 37/96 plots. On average, we’re only able to get 6-8 done a day in two groups. We’re hoping to get a little extra help since it takes so long to complete the plots in the South. I actually forgot how long it took [the mind is amazing at blocking out misery].
In other news, I located a collared fawn mortality that was thought to have gone off air in Feb. I picked up her signal loud and clear in an area she spent most of time last summer/fall. I expected to find only an old worn out collar at the mort site since I haven’t heard the signal is so long.
Oddly, I have been checking this area weekly to see if she’d show back up and haven’t heard anything until this week. The carcass wasn’t disassembled, but was scavenged heavily. All that was left was skin and bones.
On the bright side, I did see my first wood turtle of the year while looking for this deer. The crew has seen some Eastern garters, too.
Finally, we’ve had a number of issues with the trucks this week. All three of them are acting strange and we don’t know what is wrong with any of them [spring fever].
Field Crew Leader