Monday, June 19, 2017

Importance of Trail Cameras

Trail cameras (for example:MOULTRIE M-40I GAME CAMERA )  have become a necessary tool for most deer managers and many deer hunters. Let me explain the three primary uses of trail cameras. Even though I am focused on deer you can use these methods on other animals as well.
Deer population surveys.
Deer patterning.
Security (Catching poachers and trespassers)

Let me now go into more detail;

Deer population surveys:

Because we are deer managers as well as deer hunters this process is the most important process for us. Being able to estimate our Fawn Recruitment Rate, Doe to Buck Ratio and how many individual Bucks we got pictures of is very important in educating us on the dynamics of the deer population in our immediate area. Please read my article “Knowing your Fawn Recruitment Rate is Important!” where I explain the importance of knowing your Fawn Recruitment Rate. Also read my article “Why and how to manipulate your Doe to Buck ratio” where I explain the importance of knowing and possibly even manipulating your Doe to Buck ratio based on your own specific situation. (Your own recruitment rate, mortality rates, deer density etc.) Also, sorting through all of our pictures and determining the number of different Bucks is an important part of our survey. Being able to estimate how many different Bucks we got pictures of gives us something to compare season to season. We do a four week survey with our cameras. We place them at our feeders for two weeks and then we put the cameras on a field or food plot with corn in front of them for the other two weeks. (Placing corn is legal where we hunt) We like to do this with our cameras because we have determined that a small percentage of our deer avoid our feeders. By moving the cameras to a field we usually see a few different deer that do not go to our feeders. I have other articles where I cover the survey process in more detail.

Utilizing our software you can see in the example below how easy it is to track all of this information season by season.

The above sightings information was acquired through observation counts but camera counts will work just as well if not better. As a matter of fact most properties prefer to do a camera survey and just enter those counts into the software. I definitely recommend that everyone do a camera survey and keep track of those counts season to season. Even if I was just hunting 50 acres I would still track the information above just so I had something to compare season by season. Since we are not under a high fence we can see the effects if any our neighbors are having on our deer population. One thing we were able to determine is that our neighbors aren’t shooting enough Does so we are able to compensate for that. We can also see if we are getting our Buck population reduced since we are trying to reduce it. Last but not least is watching our recruitment rate. Many areas are experiencing higher fawn mortality rates because of predators. Even though we have had an increase in our coyote population it has not hurt us yet but it’s important that we keep an eye on it.

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