From the Northern Crew:
Dear Deer People,
Well, rifle deer season has come to a close after two busy weeks in the woods. I talked with many hunters over this week during my rounds. I always enjoy talking with folks and hearing about their experiences.
It was a fairly quiet week, surprisingly, with no fawn mortalities. I was definitely thankful for that even though I still had some adult mortalities to gather info from.
With rain coming on Tuesday, I did my first round of telemetry on Monday. A couple of fawns have wandered to new areas of the countryside. It made this telemetry round more adventurous than the others. I got with some new hiding spots.
I experimented a little bit with “spider wiring” on the clover traps. This method uses a thin length of rope, which you weave in and out of two sides of the netting along the edges on a clover trap to connect them along that edge. By doing this, it creates somewhat of a trampoline effect within the trap preventing the deer from hitting the external metal frame. We have used foam tubing in the past to create a cushion barrier for the bars, but this was a suggested alternative I learned in Wisconsin.
On Tuesday, I did a mortality run and some scouting. Still using the trapline maps that Hannah gave me, I wanted to draw in some more details of the roads and add some logging roads that were created over the summer. I also marked where I plan to have rocket nets and which spots where large enough to put drop nets.
On Wednesday, Chris and I retrieved another adult collar that had been harvested during gun season – a nice 8 Pointer. After another mort. run, I unearthed all of the clover traps from the Canada Golden rod patch back at the office. I also started creating excel sheets that will be filled out to log the activity on all of the baits sites that will be established for this trapping season.
The preparations will continue this week as we get closer and closer to the crew start date and all of the winter trapping festivities. The forest is white with snow now which makes these preparations all the more real.
From the Southern Crew:
Both Monday and Tuesday were dedicated to deer aging activities. We collected heads to be tested for CWD this week as well. Between both days, we aged a total of 361 deer. Due to the rain coming on Tuesday, we tried to knock out the processors where we were required to age outdoors. I conducted a mort run Monday night, and spoke to the mechanic about our trucks and completed auto reports Tuesday night.
Wednesday, I conducted another mort run and began to round up a number of collars from deer that were harvested. I picked up a fawn collar from 2017 in Rothrock; buck collar from 2015 in Bald Eagle; fawn collar from 2016; and a doe collar from 2015 both in Rothrock.
I began to look at rocket net sites in Rothrock. Mark, the Rothrock Forester, said he may be able to get some sites mowed for us. Winter is beginning to set in though, so I don’t expect him to be able to get this done. I appreciate the thought though! I was also able to check out a few rocket net sites that weren’t occupied by hunters on Wednesday.
I began Thursday morning with a mort run. My first round in Rothrock turned out well, but when I reached my first Bald Eagle fawn, I instantly heard a weak mort signal come in over the omni antenna. This fawn has been tricky for the past few months. If she’s not spending time in the low spots in the ag land where the interference from electrical lines are high, she treks over a monstrous ridge in the middle of nowhere and hides out. Often, the only way I can get her signal is to travel 30 minutes down a bumpy drivable trail then hike 500 meters up to the top of the ridge and listen for her on the other side.
After speaking with a few landowners and gaining permission to hike on their property, I headed to a different part of the mountain. After I reached the top and just began to descend down the other side, I discovered what I had heard was a false mortality signal. Signal bounce was getting the best of me.
To end my work week, I picked up the final doe collar. This doe was initially tagged in 2016. We recaptured her in 2017 and she received a collar and a vaginal implant transmitter. We did not find any of her fawns though.
Next week, I will continue to monitor the fawns, finalize my spreadsheet of fawn locations, continue to look at rocket net sites, and finalize a supply list for trapping.
Field Crew Leader
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