Yesterday at around 5 pm, F3 ventured yet again into one of the traps. She was caught several weeks ago, but released because the field crew thought she might be lactating and didn’t want to keep her from her kits at what would have been a crucial time. Her behavior since that incident raised suspicions that she wasn’t, in fact, denning, and when she went into the trap yesterday, we headed to Montana, arriving at two in the morning and getting up at six to go the trap. The risk to any hypothetical kits would have been reduced by the fact that they would now be old enough to be left for a greater length of time.
We did successfully collar F3, and we did determine the answer to the vital question of whether or not she is denning. We did it all on three and a half hours of sleep, however, and I am not at my literary best on such a minimal infusion of dream time. So check back over the next few days for the denouement of the drama of F3 and M57.