From the Northern Crew:
Dear deer people,
Sadly, this was our last week with all 6 fawnsters together plus the bear bio aide who now feels like one of our own. We’ll begin to say goodbyes next week as hours run out.
Despite the oppressive heat and humidity, we had fun this week! We helped Brandon capture and process 10 bears, some of which came to be known on a first-name basis. One trap-happy bear is affectionately dubbed “Nunny.” Having been captured 8 times this summer, she has an unrivaled sweet tooth!
We had 1 fawn mortality this week as well. Our beloved late bloomer that was born and captured in July (as a result of a VIT) is presumed dead as we only found a few coyote tracks and the collar.
In preparation for winter trapping (because it’s never too early to start thinking ahead!), we set up a rocket-net demonstration and tested out some of our charging lines to make sure the wires were spliced correctly. A couple times only 2 of the 3 rockets fired, in which case we were able to locate where the circuit was being broken and re-splice the wires correctly. Now, we officially have 4 functioning charging lines in addition to other backups in storage. January can’t come soon enough! Well… alright, I suppose that’s debatable.
With fawn capture, veg plot maintenance, and now bear trapping in the rear view, I think it’s fair to say we’ve accomplished a great deal this summer. And I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to “work” alongside. Soon, I will be flying solo on fawn checks each day, listening to white noise from the telemetry receiver, desperate for human contact! I am hopeful though that there will be a few friendly faces on the winter trapping crew 😉
Field Crew Leader
From the Southern Crew:
We finally got some rain and a few wicked thunderstorms! I saw a number of deer out foraging near the roads during the cool mornings and plenty of other active critters in the woods. I even got a video of a doe grunting to find her fawn. She and her fawn were originally standing on the road, but the fawn ran into the woods. The doe stood on the side of the road foraging and grunting every now and again. After a few minutes, she walked in and began excessively grunting to try and locate her fawn. Pretty neat!
Emily (Bear Tech) was off this week, so we didn’t have any predator work to do. We did go search for doe 12811 in Bald Eagle, so that we could use the electronic drop-off device to remove her collar [the collar has been malfunctioning so if we can recover it we can send it back to the manufacturer for replacement or repair].
We transmitted the drop-off signal a number of times from the road and while we were hiking. From the road, we had all sorts of signal bounce, so we made our way to the top of the mountain. Luckily while hiking, we only ever seemed to be getting closer to her. After only a few hours of searching, we found her collar on the side of the mountain. I must say, I didn’t have a ton of hope based on my excursion last time trying to locate her. I was very pleased with our results this time around!
Levi and I transported a few clover traps to be welded in a few weeks for the upcoming deer trapping season this winter.
In other news, I came around a bend in the road and surprised a bobcat in Rothrock. It zigzagged on the road for a few seconds then ran into some mountain laurel. I got to watch it weasel through the mountain laurel for a few more seconds before it disappeared. This is only the second bobcat that I’ve ever seen. The bobcat also helped me find some native flowers that I’ve never seen before–cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis).
I also saw a limping doe with four fawns in Bald Eagle! She may have been babysitting or maybe a second doe was hidden in the bushes, but I watched all four of the fawns follow her into the woods [fawns are moving and traveling on their own now and it’s not uncommon for them to tag along with other does].
The thank you letters to our cooperating landowner will be going out this week. We’ll also be helping with bear trapping and you guessed it, monitoring our collared fawns!
Field Crew Leader
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