View Full Version : How to census your herd.

02-15-2005, 11:13 PM
Before everyone says you can or can't, just read my methodology. First off I do believe that this technique is very reliable in the southeastern US, but not in areas of winter yarding or highly migratory areas like out west. We have 3500 acres of primarily plantation pines with scattered water oak bottoms. Property is rectangular in arrangement with a large creek bordering our east, highways of light use on our northern and southern borders, and small individual landowners or small developments with a lightly traveled road to our west. It is legal to bait here and after the season ends we back off of the 26 heavily baited stations to only about 7 bait spots ( strategically selected of course). Me and 2 other guys place trail cameras at these sites for a period of about 2 weeks each. We usually stop about now because of antler casting. The 3 of us who also hunt the most get all 13 members hunting log books which tell who saw what and when at the 26 Designated hunting locations or box blinds and corroborate with everyones sightings by showing pictures to everyone for identification purposes. We also have no local light laws in this county so we are able to spotlight, although this technique really is useless here because of the woods thickness. Afterwards we plug in our numbers as to how many 1.5's, 2.5's, 3.5's and so on. Of course its harder to count the does but I believe we get it pretty close. Ill say this, yea we have bucks travel on us from across the highways and the creek, but the way I see it is that our property is obviously in their home range and since we are the only ones around supplying good food year round they may frequent us enough that I can call them ours. So I count all. Believe it or not just about 85% of all our bucks are sighted at some point from the stands. We also are getting some good ideas of individual bucks home ranges and possible travel corridors. A few of the bucks are showing up literally 2 miles away overnight. It is easy for us to count highway kills also. If anyone knows of some better techniques I would be very interested. I've heard too many negative comments about cameras ability to help in censusing and I believe their methods are flawed, our log books are confirming our pic's and visa-versa. Our harvest quotas are set by these numbers we get. When we say 27 does we mean no more and no less! Well I have alot more questions about managing and management problems that I'll address later in other post, just wanted ya'll to digest the 2 post that I have done for now.

02-15-2005, 11:25 PM
looks like you have a pretty good system in place, cameras are an excellent management tool imho, keep up the good work

Bob S
02-16-2005, 04:47 PM
I would think that your camera census would be much more accurate than hunter observations.