[Comment in brackets are by Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
This week was very eventful!
We caught nine more fawns – the majority being VIT fawns. We had a new record which included catching three fawns in one day! A busy day to say the least. We also experienced our first mortality. It occurred on a fawn from a VIT doe before we were able to collar and tag it. We located the VIT using telemetry and about three feet from the VIT device we found remains from the fawn. We found hair, scat and potentially tracks that all led us to believe a black bear was responsible [discriminating blog readers know that the field investigation is just this first step in determining cause of death – necropsy and DNA are still pending].
We still have VIT does out there!
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
The week flew by and, quite honestly, I hardly remember what day of the week it is. I am off for the holiday (unless a VIT is expelled), but the crew has elected to stay on through this weekend and upcoming week to continue the search. Unfortunately, we’ve been up close and personal with more dead deer this week than with live fawns.
Woodcock nest and hatched eggs
Three of our VITs were expelled this week, back to back. Our first site on Wednesday morning, though promising, was a bust. We saw VIT doe 17183 on the mountain. She was looking as pretty as ever. Glowing, if you will! She was the last doe to receive all the fixings during trapping 2017. Certainly one of our most beautiful deer. I was hoping to see some of her babies. But alas, it was not to be.
Ruffed grouse chick and mourning dove nest brimming with babies
A second VIT was expelled on Wednesday afternoon. We saved this one for bright and early on Thursday morning which turned out to be a very rainy morning. We found a fawn on a deer trail before we located the VIT.
Mid-day, we received our third expulsion event email for the week. The crew, Brock (Elk Bio Aide) and I checked this one out in the afternoon. We located the VIT and found a dead (potentially stillborn) fawn at the VIT site. We searched for a second fawn, but nothing turned up.
I received the mort signals for both of VIT doe 17193’s fawns on Monday, 5/22. I took the crew and Wyatt (Regional Biologist) in to show them how we conduct a mort investigation. Both fawns appear to have died from natural causes. One was still near the birth site and the other was moved about 650 meters away in only a few days’ time.
We listened for the doe’s signal from the birth site, but heard nothing. On Friday, when I was doing my weekly checks, I discovered 17193’s collar was in mort mode…oh no! We checked it out and found the doe’s original mort site next to a creek with her skeleton/hide 20 meters away. We found a drag trail from scavengers hauling her carcass around for the past week, deer and bird scat. She was about 80 meters from a gated gravel road.
We searched hay fields and forests. The crew found dead fawn near an obvious birth site in a hay field. They also chased a few speedy fawns. We even saw fawn 6599 while obtaining locations, as well!
Field Crew Leader
If you would like to receive email alerts of new blog posts, subscribe here.
And Follow us on Twitter @WTDresearch