[Comments in brackets are from Jeannine and Duane]
From the Northern Crew:
This week went by quickly as my time here in the Northern Study Area is rapidly coming to an end. Unfortunately, there was a mortality involving one of the VIT fawns. She was collared during the first week of capture! The crew and I were pretty sad as she was definitely one of our favorites.
She was found not far from the road wedged underneath an overhanging tree. Her hindquarters and right hind leg had been partially consumed. Judging by her placement, the claw marks on her abdomen and hind quarters, and the lack of scat or predator hair, I believe it was a bobcat kill. However, the DNA analysis and necropsy will ultimately determine her cause of death.
I have been searching for another adult deer this week to blow off its collar. So far, I have been unsuccessful but I am hoping to succeed next week! Brandon was kind enough to help me search on Thursday but alas, we were unable to get any VHF signal.
I performed telemetry and mortality runs on all remaining fawns. Next week, I will perform telemetry, update LOAS, hopefully take two of my trucks to the shop, and attempt to successfully drop and retrieve the adult deer collar.
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
I began the week with an unexpected fawn mortality. It’s been exactly a month since I’ve lost a fawn, so it was a slight change of pace. I was a bit worried that the carcass might be heavily scavenged since the mortality could’ve occurred while I was off over the weekend. To my surprise, the carcass was still in one piece, signs of predation were still evident, and the blood hadn’t even dried up yet. I was lucky this time, but the fawn, not so much.
The fawn was found in a hay field, not far from a swamp and barn. The abdomen was cleared out and part of the hindquarters and groin was eaten. The fawn also had puncture marks on her skull. As an aside, this fawn was the easiest deer I’ve tracked over the past 2+ years. She spent most of the day time (at least when the crew or myself would locate her) bedded alone or with friends 10 meters from the road in a small field that until recently was left uncut all summer.
Fawn monitoring continued as per usual. Though, two of the fawns went missing this week. One was our female sporting the pilot GPS collar. Surprise, surprise. She picks up and leaves whenever she wants to. By the end of the week, I still could not relocate her. I gained as much elevation as possible to be above her usual territory, but all I could hear was electrical interference. I also explored some new areas. So, that was really fun, but unsuccessful.
The other missing female fawn did show back up in a few days. I had the opportunity to hike around her territory. So peaceful and the weather was really nice! They couldn’t have chosen a better week to go off of the grid.
In addition, I saw a fawn for the first time since we captured her on a rainy evening in June. This was the small, but feisty fawn who kicked the heck out of me and ripped my shirt (rightfully so). Brought back memories of trapping full-sized, kicking and bucking deer in the winter.
Finally, I spent the majority of Thursday in Harrisburg with Bret as we took my old truck in to be surplused since the transmission is on its way out. 155,000+ miles, a lot of which were put on in the state forests, but I really hated to see her go!
The truck only left me hanging one time during our two year relationship. We rested her next to our Crew truck that we brought down the previous week. It’s been real…REAL (and good), Squirtle the Turtle.
Field Crew Leader