PSU Deer Study

We are in the throes of fawning season.  Catching those camo-covered fur balls requires a keen eye, a quick step, and little forest agility.  AKA, a LOT of luck and a little finesse.  What you don’t need are explosives!

This is not true for winter trapping.  Big deer require big effort.  We use Clover traps and rocket nets to capture deer in the winter.  

Why am I reminiscing about winter trapping in May?  Two reasons.

First, back in March the Northern crew had a big week.  They broke the 100 deer capture mark, caught 7 deer in one day (the most in a single day), and caught 4 deer in a rocket net (the most they ever caught in one firing).  The really cool part about this is that the rocket launch and subsequent deer capture were recorded from the trapper’s point of view.

Second, some of those deer caught back in January-March are females that will help us capture fawns (they were fitted with VITs).

So you don’t have to sit through the stressful part of waiting tens of minutes for the deer to get into proper position, the 45-minute video has been edited down to 1-min 18-sec.

Check it out:

It’s pretty cool footage.  And kind of amazing that deer, just feet from a rocket, can almost out run it!

Stats for the night:

1 Juvenile male (recapture)

3 Adult females (1 recapture; 2 new captures)

The 2 recaptured deer were, in fact, caught together at the same net on Valentine’s Day.  I guess the crew didn’t leave too big an impression since they decided to test their luck again. The doe did receive a VIT back in February so all that work will hopefully pay off again with a fawn capture.  We are just waiting for the call!

For now, the big deer can rest easy.  Our search image has changed with the season but come January, the explosives will be redeployed!

 -Jeannine Fleegle
Wildlife Biologist
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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