Today we moved the Reconyx units from the camera survey sites to scouting sites for the opening of archery season! We’ve collected literally tens of thousands of images to analyze for our herd survey during the past three weeks. Brad has been doing most of the analyses and will have some estimates of the number of deer, number of bucks, number of bucks on our 2010 hit list, etc, late next week. This is always an exciting time.
Just as exciting is switching into scouting mode as archery season in Missouri begins September 15th. At this time, the summer bachelor groups have begun busting up and mature bucks are typically changing their patterns from a food-cover, food-cover routine to a bit of overt dominance hierarchy sorting out.
This means that some bucks will shift to using other parts of their home range to avoid frequent conflict. Their movement and behavior patterns are changing rapidly during this time of year, which means that M.R.I. (Most Recent Information) is critical, but difficult to obtain. Information a week old can be out of date this time of year. This makes selecting stand/blind sites tough.
In an effort to stack the odds in my favor I use a combination of M.R.I., past history, and knowledge of food preference when deciding where to place my stands/blinds. For example, a recent Reconyx image (within few days) of a buck on my hit list, combined with knowledge that a mature buck has used that area in the past, and knowing what the current preferred food sources are during the first week of archery season is enough data for me to select and hunt a specific location.
Harvesting a mature buck year after year on the same property is like solving a really tough puzzle. To solve a puzzle, one must have all the pieces. Do you have all the pieces?
Growing Deer together,