Most Discouraged

Wow! I was so disappointed after checking the cameras this morning. We have had a major leaf fall, but I did not see ANY deer sign this morning. The leaves can cover droppings and track, but not rubs. I saw nothing.

The cameras confirmed what my eyes saw. There was one doe on camera #1, 11 minutes after I checked it last, and that was it!

I did get a great video of Mamma bear and her now considerably larger twin cubs at the Fork. Right at the end of the video, she stands up on her hind legs.

Black Bear Sow and Cubs

Black Bear Sow and Cubs

I also got a great video of a fisher cat at Stand #2, which is not surprising, as I deleted over 60 videos of mice, flying squirrels, gray squirrels, and porcupines at Stand #2.

Fisher Cat at Stand #2

Fisher Cat at Stand #2

A coyote and a red fox, the first I’ve ever seen there, also showed up to try and take advantage of the rodent explosion.

Red Fox at Stand #2

Red Fox at Stand #2

Those rodents have completely wiped out the acorns there.

By the way, I got a great video of a big bull moose at the Fork a while back that I forgot to mention.

Big Bull Moose at the Fork

Big Bull Moose at the Fork

I’m stymied, but I don’t have the physical strength right now to scout the areas where I think the deer have moved off to.

My best guess is the bigger oak groves on either side of Mountain Road and up to Stand #5.

The other possibility is the new cutovers above Eckart’s.

I have never seen so little sign in J.E.

The brookies are getting ready to spawn. I saw several this morning, including at the spot where Debbie and I watched them spawn last year.

WLAGS

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Hooray!

The winter severity index (WSI) days are over. Today the deepest snow was 22” and I averaged the rest at 14”. It’s been a long stretch. All we can do is hope that the deer had enough fat reserves and or they moved to lower ground.

Yesterday and today I went to Hanover and Claremont. The low lands had much less snow, under a foot in most places, with bare spots on the southern slopes.

My experiment with the cameras, putting them one on top of the other, proved worthwhile. It became obvious that the Bushnell took better quality videos, photos, and sound.

The usual suspects showed up–mostly the gray fox and the coyote.

Coyote Walking On Top of the Snow

Coyote Walking On Top of the Snow

The Moultree however, had a much longer and much wider range. So I’ll put the Moultree in open expanses and the Bushnell in tighter spots or where we need to get a better look at a rack. I did move the Bushnell much closer to where the bobcat has been traveling.

I’d love to get a good photo of him. I set it to photo.

WLAGS

WSI Update

Just a little update on snow and winter severity index (WSI).

Monday I was able to walk back to the camera without snowshoes. Not because there was so little snow, but because of a few sunny days and very cold nights, the snow had a deep crust. The snow depths ranged from 6” to 29”, with most places coming in at 16” to 19”. Not good.

I had the usual suspects on the camera: fox and coyote mostly, with a daytime video of the fisher, all of whom were able to walk freely on the snow crust, which of course a deer cannot do.

Deer in Deep Snow

Deer in Deep Snow

The problem with the fisher video was that although it was sunny, he spent most of his time in the shade of an evergreen.

Fisher

Fisher

I went up there today in hopes that yesterday’s 50 degrees would have knocked the snow pack down. Not much, unfortunately. Today’s depths ranged from 5” to 26” with an average of about 16”. That’s better, but we have a storm starting right now that, depending on who you want to listen to, will bring us 3” to 12” of heavy, wet snow (the plow just went by).

I think we are at about 44 WSI days so far. Not good, but if it would go quickly in the next week to something less than 12”, we, the deer, would be OK.

Last year we were at 32 WSI days for the year, and 17 of them were in March, the most critical month. We are already at 12 WSI days this month, and worse yet, 30 consecutive days.

Our average in Washington is 33 WSI days over the last 40 years or so.

Keep your fingers crossed.

WLAGS

Videos

In the last 7 days the camera behind the house took over 60 videos.
Almost half were of 3 grey fox. 2 traveling together and coming by almost every evening shortly after sunset.
It is their mating season after all.
A single shows up often, mostly 4 to 6 hours after the pair.
Of great and pleasant surprise was several videos of a large and I mean very large fisher cat.
I’ll bet he is at least as heavy as a fox. They have been known to weigh up to 18# and a big grey fox would be 12#.
He often showed up just before the single fox.
In one he sits on his haunches like a bear and scratches himself for the whole video.
He must live near by as he seems to come by every other day.
And then there is the coyote. He or she shows up at first light and if it gets within 40’ of the camera it looks at it and takes off like it was shot at!
This camera is a black light camera and has spooked only bears that have gotten close enough to smell it.
It has no infra red light to spook them. It is why I chose this model.
It is leaving me scratching my head as to what is spooking the coyote.
Any ideas?
By the way remember all the track I saw yesterday? Today after the 10” of snow, only red squirrel track.
Nothing moved overnight. It will be interesting to see how soon everything resumes normal movements.
 
WLAGS