How long do you run a deer survey with a trail camera?

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I absolutely love your new website. The information that you are providing is invaluable to those of us who are actively involved in managing our properties and our deer herds. I am a consulting forester and I am sure that I will be utilizing some of the knowledge gained from your video clips in developing future forest management plans for clients. Keep up the excellent work!

Before my question, please allow me to provide a brief background; I own property in western West Virginia. I have been a member of the QDMA for 8 or 9 years now. Through articles I have read in “Quality Whitetails” I became interested in camera inventories. For the past four years I have conducted a camera inventory on my 200 acres. I modified the basic parameters somewhat in that I run one bait per 50 acres and I run the cameras for three weeks and include pictures from the very first week in the inventory. My initial thoughts were that I would just have more pictures to go through, but I am now wondering if my modifications could cause any type of biases in the data. I would be extremely interested in hearing your much respected opinion on this situation.

Thank you, in advance, for your time and advice.



Thanks for the kind words! There are potentially tradeoffs of the intensive data collection associated with a camera survey that you discussed. Probably the most prominent is the tradeoff of collecting more data versus more disturbance to the local herd and habitat. One method to monitor the effectiveness of your techniques is to plot out the number of new bucks photographed each day of the survey. Typically, the percentage of new bucks photographed starts relatively high, then drops off to almost no new bucks by day 12 or so. In addition, are you obtaining images of the same mature bucks throughout the survey, or is it obvious that some of the mature bucks are not present due to disturbance as the survey progresses? I really enjoy checking cameras and inventorying the images, but there is a point of diminishing returns where disturbance exceeds the value of limited new data being added to the dataset.

Growing Deer together,