The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s fawn survival study is yielding some interesting results.
John Dunn, director of the commission’s bureau of wildlife management, said crews captured and collared 42 fawns, 24 on the Susquehannoack State Forest study site and 18 on the Bald Eagle-Rothrock state forest site. Ten have died so far.
Of those, four showed no evidence of predation, he said. The other six did, Dunn said, and DNA work on their carcasses is being done in an attempt to determine what type of predator killed them.
Now, Dunn said, crews are capturing and tagging bears on the study sites and using trail cameras and scent stations to identify what other predators might exist and in what concentrations. Already, 20 bears have been captured, “so there are a lot of bears on the landscape,” Dunn added.
One thing that’s proven impressive is the vaginal transmitters used on pregnant does. Crews implanted those in five females over winter, Dunn said. When those does gave birth, the transmitter sent a text message detailing GPS coordinates to a crew leader working from his office.
When that leader and went out the next day, he found the fawn born just hours earlier within 25 feet of the spot identified by the transmitter, Dunn said.