Fawns Under Represented in Camera Survey

By GrowingDeer,

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I have noticed over the years in doing my annual late summer camera surveys that I rarely get pictures of fawns.  I understand that fawns are not eating the corn/mineral licks at this age and also that the mothers do not want to bring their young to bait because of the increased risk of predation.  Is there any sort of “magic formula” for calculating fawn recruitment during a late summer camera survey?



You are correct that when bucks are still in full velvet most fawns are apparently too young to follow the doe and/or the doe doesn’t want to bring them around mature bucks.  However, the fact that bucks are bunched up and tolerant of each other makes it a great time of year to survey bucks.

There are trade-offs to doing a camera survey during any time of year.  I prefer doing them during August as great data on bucks can be obtained, as well as enough data on does and fawns for management purposes.  Some folks do attempt to estimate the number of fawns by making assumptions, etc.  I believe such estimates are very prone to providing erroneous information.  I’m not aware of any “magic formula” that is accurate enough to justify using.  I think the best results can be achieved by replicating the survey annually.  This procedure will most likely provide accurate trends.

Accurate trends, such as, are there more does and fawns than during the previous year are typically more important for management purposes than knowing the exact number of does and fawns.  By the way, the number of yearling bucks (which are relatively easy to identify) is an excellent indicator of fawn recruitment during the previous year.

If you desire or need a more accurate count of fawns, they typically readily respond to bait during January and/or February.  In fact surveys this time of year are usually biased toward showing a better representation of does and fawns and under representing bucks.  Remember, surveys are best at providing trend data.  It’s almost impossible to census (count every individual) a free-ranging deer herd.

Growing Deer together,