[Comments in brackets by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
Well, it is my first week as crew leader and I already have my hands full!
I spent the week familiarizing myself with the study area, and attempting to organize and prepare as much as possible for the start of fawn season while simultaneously keeping an eye and both ears out for a few of our VIT does that have been having some issues with collar malfunctions.
In addition, this week a former winter crew member (Tony) was kind enough to come out with me and we successfully retrieved a collar from one of last year’s fawns which had been emitting a mortality signal. This provided me with my first opportunity to explore the hilly terrain of north central PA, and proved a quick reminder that I’m definitely not in flat Florida anymore!
Capture season officially starts May 16th [that’s when the fawn capture crews’ this day in the field]. Although I’ve heard rumors circulating of fawns being sighted in the area [Yup, a forester reported a set of twins but it was outside the study area], I have yet to see one and am hoping (fingers crossed) that all the mama does are able to enjoy pregnancy a little longer, at least until the rest of my crew arrives.
Stay tuned to hear all about the North Central Crew’s fun filled, challenging, and hopefully productive fawn season!
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
Brandon and I started the week off by heading out to Bald Eagle to pick up collar 12787 on Monday. I received a mort email Friday, May 5th, so that was a good sign! Brandon and I tracked the deer down a week ago to blow the collar off with the drop-off device. I did the math and where the buck had us on May 3rd when we transmitted the drop-off signal was 1.8 km from where it actually fell off of his neck. If we had proceeded to follow him, we would’ve went on a wild goose chase (wild deer chase!) through the mountains. Thank goodness for satellites and GPS collars!
I picked up buck collar 21016 and with some instruction from the gentleman who discovered 21016’s carcass, I went out and found the original mort site. As expected, there wasn’t much of the carcass left, other than fur and the spine/leg a few meters away.
In addition, I hiked around and discovered that collar 6312 (captured in 2016 as a fawn) was in mortality mode. I generally have a hard time picking up the signal for this deer, but I was able to faintly pick it up from the bottom of the mountain. I listened for her collar on Tuesday as well, but couldn’t find it. I located only the transmitter box near the top of the mountain, just a meter off of a game trail. I suspect she lost the transmitter on her collar between Tuesday and Friday while utilizing the game trail. She’s still sporting the stretched out elastic collar with the cat logger device attached.
I won’t call my ArcMap files completed, because there is always room for improvement. Not to mention, I have about ten more trapping sites to add to the southern portion of the Bald Eagle map. These maps are always a topic on my updates because they tend to get pushed to the back of the list when other work comes up. The maps aren’t required to get the job done, but it’s something (potentially useful) that I wanted to contribute to the study.
I can finally confirm that my truck DOES have transmission issues. Nothing huge right now, but it will proceed to get worse over time. Not to mention, it needs rotors, potentially brakes and a new exhaust manifold. She’s (Squirtle the Turtle) in a rough place right now.
Avery, Ben, Amber and Nick will join the Southern Study Area fawn crew. We will get the crew settled in by completing fawn capture orientation, touring the study area, getting our backpacks/equipment ready for the season, familiarizing ourselves with the equipment and LOAS, and having a timesheet completion info session. WE CANNOT WAIT for Fawn Capture 2017!!
Field Crew Leader
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