Catching deer in the boreal forest is hard. It just isn't feasible to try to just search by snowshoe, truck, or even helicopter because of the vast tracts of wilderness and dense tree cover. But we want to fit 20 with GPS collars so we can track their movement for our cutblock project.
So, ever since we rang in 2019, we've been in the field setting up bait sites and building traps. When a hungry deer enters a trap to nibble the hay (among other delicacies), the door swings shut, locking in the deer and triggering a SMS alert sent to our phones. Or at least that was the plan. Because of the polar vortex that blasted Alberta with arctic air for two weeks, we left the traps locked open to eliminate the chance of a trapped deer freezing before we could get to it.
Despite the general difficulty of catching deer, combined with the challenging conditions, we’ve four collars on so far and we've learned a lot that will hopefully raise our success rate for the rest of the season. We’re spending the week scouting for new sites, and hope to begin trapping again this weekend. With a little luck, we should have many more collars wandering the woods, beaming back deer data by the end of March.
March 28 update: caught 12 deer and collared 9.