PSU Deer Study


From the Northern Crew:

Dear deer people,

It was a pretty low-key week for us up in the Susquehannock. We helped the bear bio aide check traps on Monday and check/pull traps out of the woods on Tuesday.

Other than that, we just continued to monitor fawns twice a day and acquire telemetry locations every other. Unlike last week, we’ve had no further fawn mortalities. I was, however, informed tonight that one fawn went MIA today, so we will be out first-thing tomorrow morning to find the little rascal (hopefully alive) [He was found and is frolicking with mom about 2 miles from their “normal” location].

I’m waiting to get an estimate for our troubled truck that’s been out of commission the better part of this summer. 

Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section

From the Southern Crew:

Hi all,

Levi and Julie investigated a mortality. They found no signs of predation. We believed that this fawn is the sibling to a previous mortality. Externally, both look to have died from natural causes. [This fawn only gained about 2 lbs since birth on 6/15/2016]

There are 6 vegetation plots left to complete. Subplot 207 in Bald Eagle caused a little trouble for the crew. While the long hike in was fairly easy, somehow the hike out was a completely different route with boulder fields for a mile back to the truck. Levi and I experienced this same thing last year. We somehow always manage to miss our path and end up scaling the mountain across boulder fields the entire way. On their way out, they also managed to drop the GPS in a crevice but did eventually retrieve it. 

After the fence plot maintenance is complete, we will continue to assist with the predator work, get fawn locations, and begin preparing for deer trapping this winter. We will be losing two of our crew members during the first week of August. [These are temporary positions limited to 749 hrs]

Thursday, Levi, Julie and I joined Ethan, a Bio Aide on the bear project, to check 10 traps that he had set in the Sproul State Forest.

We captured two bears – a recaptured 130 pound female with a radio collar and a new 335 pound male. We checked the female’s tags to record her id number, assessed her collar and let her go. Since the male was a new capture, we processed him as we do with all new bears –  sexed, weighed, tattooed, tagged, measured, a tooth is pulled, and blood is taken [research animals are very valuable]. When all was said and done, we administered the reversal drug and monitored him until he got up to run away.

Hind feet of a 335-lb male black bear

Getting ready to measure and weigh the bear

Removing a vestigial premolar tooth so that the bear can be aged.

While in the Sproul, we saw at least 10 timber rattlesnakes, a short-tailed weasel, deer, turkeys, and a grouse. At one site, a few of us watched two beautiful male timber rattlesnakes fighting. With my camera in hand, I was too stunned to snap a photo. It’s not something that very many people get to witness. It was an exciting day in the field. 

The crew truck went back into the garage to get a fuel pump fixed.

Lastly, while attempting to get a location for one of our fawns, he ran out onto the road in front of me. [I guess they got a good location for that one!] 

We’ll plan to finish up the fence maintenance this coming week and continue to monitor the fawns.

Field Crew Leader
PGC Deer and Elk Section


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