Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good Parental Advice

"Is gettin' a gun out fast important, Pa?"
"Sometimes, boy. But more important is hittin' what you're aiming at."

-William Johnstone in "Creed of the Mountain Man"

Autumn Update

Lot's of Autumn-ness going on here. Deer season is in full swing, opening day of sheep season is 13 days away, and our little girl keeps getting sweeter every day. I heard some grandmas were having withdrawls so I got some more pics up on flickr.

I never would have guessed 10 years ago that I would someday be the proud owner of a cheap plastic kiddie pool. It was worth the too much money. Autumn loves it. We just about had to force her to quit playing even as she shivered as the evening cooled.

Haz-mat Autumn. If you wait for nice weather in SE you'll never get to use your awesome full body rain slicker.

We spent a Sunny Sunday at the beach last week. Fun.

Deer Hunting 2010 Trip #1

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One Year Later, A Real Haircut

July 15, 2010 I like to call this hair "Stayin' Alive"

July 16, 2010 I call this hair "Black Hawk Down"

Stay Hydrated

I can tell the Grandmas are getting restless for some new pics. Check them out at flickr.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Have a Cool Job #9 "More Deer"

Part of the fawn mortality study is capturing and collaring a number of does as well. We capture does by "hunting" them. Literally, I even wear my camo sometimes. With a dart gun we quietly slip into a likely spot. One person is usually the caller and the other the shooter. Does come to a call very eagerly in early spring. We have to call them in to within about 15 yards to get an accurate shot with the dart. The darts are equipped with telemetry equipment so we can track down the deer once the drugs have taken effect. The doe is fitted with a radio collar, ear tags and a transmitter is implanted vaginally. This allows us to know when she has given birth. How do we know she will give birth? Because we also check out the fawns in utero with a portable ultrasound machine. Is that slick or what?

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Have a Cool Job #6 "More Bears"

Here are some nice shots of some of my customers. I also want to note for my mom that these bears are the non-aggressive sub-species, perfectly safe to work with.

I Have a Cool Job #5 "Bears"

My main project at right now is collaring black bears. Having never been a trapper, it was a very steep learning curve to go from no experience to live-trapping bears. But I'm getting it down and have been pretty successful recently. Here is a typical set. The area is baited for a few days prior to trapping with an array of foods and scents to get a bear in the area. The bucket is then set up with a spring. A goodie is placed on the trigger of the spring. When the bear reaches into the bucket and tugs on the snack the spring cinches a cable down around its wrist. You can see I have remote transmitters set. These tell me when the spring has been tripped so I can go check for a catch.

Once caught I have to shoot the bear with a dart to deliver the drugs that make handling the bears possible. It can be pretty exciting to walk in on a bear tethered by only a 3/16" cable. In this pic the bear is getting pretty sleepy.

Getting sleepier. This is just moments before it conked out and slid out of the tree onto the ground.

Just about got this bear wrapped up and ready for release.

Here she is groggily waking up from her nap and all blinged out.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Have a Cool Job #4 "Fawns"

One of the current projects we have going on the island is a fawn mortality study. A graduate student is collaring does and fawns. I've had the opportunity to help. Once collared the fawns are monitored to see how many survive and why the others are dying. Hate to say it, but this fawn has already been a bear snack.

Some of the fawns are a lot better at hiding than others. Here's one that stands a good chance of survival.

This one...not so much.

It sure is photogenic though.

I Have a Cool Job #3 "Cubs"

After an unsuccessful day of trapping bears a co-worker and I were heading home when we spotted a mom and two cubs in a clear cut near the highway. I stopped the truck and we bailed out to chase the cubs up a tree, with the hope of keeping mom around long enough to dart her. In other words, purposely putting ourselves between a mom and her cubs. The plan worked perfectly except for the dart deciding to fly a different direction than I had intended.

Here's a cub I spotted in the forest. It scampered up a tree as well, giving me some good photo ops. Mom was no where to be found.

Here's a close-up.