Bundle Up Biologists, There's Research To Be Done!

Written by PA Game Commission. Posted in News

01/11/2016 - Deer season has ended in most of Pennsylvania.  The snow is starting to stick, and temperatures dip into the single digits.  You might be wondering if there is anything mammal biologists are doing this time of year?  Some research projects slow down.  Many species are less active, and some even hibernate like jumping mice.  On the other hand, some mammal projects kick into high gear.  Black bear dens will be checked for cubs.  Deer might be trapped, tagged, and released for studies.  Potential Appalachian cottontail sites will be visited to collect fecal samples.  Analyzing these samples will determine species - Appalachian or the more common eastern cottontail.  P.S. If you know of any high elevation, forested areas with cottontails please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This is also a very important time of year for bat research.  Pennsylvania has two types of bats, cave and migratory.  Cave bats such as little browns and tri-coloreds stick around all winter.  Okay they stick around, but inside caves, mines, tunnels, and other dark, sheltered places.  By visiting such places, biologists are able to monitor which species and how many are present.  This data was, and still is, very important to understanding bats as they struggle with white-nose syndrome.  If you see bats flying around or dead on the landscape this winter, please don't disturb them and let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We biologists have plenty to keep busy, but we look forward to seeing your winter mammal pictures.  Snow provides a great opportunity for photos of scat or tracks.  The ground below bird feeders is a good place to check for squirrels and small mammals.  It's also a good time to view mammals congregating, like elk.  Bundle up, there are mammals to observe!