[Comments in brackets are from Jeannine and Duane]
This last week in the Northern Study area was an absolute blur. I took my truck back to the shop to have it repaired. However, I spent most of the week trying to organize paperwork and prepare necessary materials for Nate, so that his transition into crew leader would be relatively smooth.
I performed mortality runs and telemetry on all remaining fawns and checked on several does who are having collar issues. One of our fawns even made an appearance! I was happy to see him just standing along the road happily munching away. I also saw another collared fawn and doe that same day. The two fawns I saw were so much bigger than the last time I saw them. They had practically no spots remaining. Seeing how much they’ve grown over these last few months was a nice way to say goodbye to them.
I attended a deer aging training where I learned how to classify deer into three age groups (6 month, 18 month, and 30 month) based on the characteristics of their teeth. It was so interesting and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to learn such a useful skill.
I could not be more thankful for my time as crew leader for the Northern Study Area. I learned so much about tracking deer and had so many unique opportunities to work with an array of different species: trapping black bears (a lifelong dream), capturing fawns, dropping collars, learning about deer management, and working with the best crew, co-workers and employers I ever could have imagined.
In addition, the employees at DCNR, especially Chris N and Joe P, were invaluable assets to my crew and I this summer. Everyone at DCNR was always so helpful and saved the day for us many times. It is my firm belief that without them, several of our trucks might still be stuck out in the woods.
I am extremely grateful for my time at the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Although I am excited to enter this new chapter of my career, I will always have a special place in my heart for the Susquehannock. [Maureen is off to graduate school. We wish her the best and welcome Nate to The Deer-Forest Study as the newest crew leader!]
PGC Deer and Elk Section
From the Southern Crew:
The highlight of the week was attending the deer aging training with all of the PGC’s finest deer agers. I first sat in on the review session because I don’t often use my deer aging skills followed by the exam. Everyone must score a 95% or better on the deer aging exam. The exam involves using a flashlight to peer inside 100 envelopes containing a single jaw bone as if you’re peering in the mouth of a deer. The envelope simulates the deer’s oral cavity, because that’s how deer aging in the field occurs.
I conducted mortality checks and obtained locations on all of the remaining fawns. Also, I searched on foot for one of them. Nate (new Northern Crew Leader) assisted me with telemetry after the deer aging training, so we had time to talk about the deer crew leader job duties. The elk truck is back out of the garage, so I plan to drive it this week to see if the repairs solved our issues with the 4WD.
Although the first day of fall was two weeks ago, I finally noticed a few signs of cooler weather this week. Fall foliage is coming on strong. I came across quite a few banded woolly bear caterpillars, as well. My parents taught me as a kid that when woolly bear caterpillars start showing up on the roads and in the yard, winter was coming.
I finally saw an Eastern Box Turtle this week. It has been a few months. Normally our study area is crawling with them. He was hanging out on a road in Bald Eagle, so I moved him to safety.
We lost one work day to the Columbus Day holiday this week, but I plan to continue monitoring the fawns and go through some of the equipment in the remaining trucks to prep for winter trapping.
Finally, I wish Maureen the best of luck with grad school! We’ll miss you!
Field Crew Leader
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