I’m back in the UP for more fieldwork. Last time I was up here was right before the start of hunting season last year. Since then a hard winter has passed and is now just being replaced by spring. There’s still snow on the ground in the northern areas of our study area, but it’s melting fast. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be doing deer pellet counts (as a proxy for numbers of deer) to supplement previous data and to try to get a better gauge on how snowfall affects the spatial distribution of deer during the winter. We need to do these as soon after the snow melts before ground level vegetation re-grows and obscures the pellets. We’re also going to count pellets in the stands where we planted tree seedlings last fall. Then we’ll compare the estimated deer numbers in the stands with the browse on the seedlings we planted (if there’s anything left of them at all!) to try to get a more precise handle on how deer density relates to browse impact of different species.
So that’s my next few weeks – counting deer poo in the UP forests. I doubt I’ll be online much so this might be the last blog for a week or two. I’ll take some photos and maybe post them when I’m back in Lansing.