I love when field things come together neatly. Just as the 2017 field season arrived, we finished entering all the pictures from last year’s surveys. And boy, did we find some interesting things!

Overall, we had 158 camera sites across Bald Eagle, Susquehannock, and Rothrock State Forests. If we added up the “days” that each camera ran last year, it would be the same as setting out one camera and running it for 22 years! We detected our three predators of interest (black bears, bobcats, and coyotes), but we also detected fisher, opossum, skunks, and weasels.

Our most detected species was the trash panda (aka raccoon).

The species that was the rarest was our tree-climbing canid, the gray fox.

And despite bear trapping all summer, we detected less than 20 marked bears on camera.

Of course, white-tailed deer were our most detected non-carnivore species, but we also saw rabbits, porcupines, squirrels, and turkeys!

This summer will be our last camera-trapping field season, so this one is for all the marbles! We hope to get enough detections of bobcats, coyotes, and black bears so we can determine how carnivore distribution is related to fawn distribution (and survival). 

Wish us luck!

-Asia Murphy
Ph.D. graduate student

Ecology Program
PA Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

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