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#### nbbucks

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I've been looking over stats and am wondering why Nova Scotia deer hunters do better than New Brunswick deer hunters. From the stats (if they are correct) we have twice the amount of deer with more hunters in the woods but are bagging half the deer they do
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NB------------------------NS
Licences sold----------------50, 000-----------------38, 000
Est. deer population---------85, 000-----------------34, 791 (2009)
Deer harvested--------------- 5, 060-----------------10, 333
Deer/Hunter ratio------------- 1.7/1-------------------.9/1
Success Rate-------------------%10----------------------%27

I'm baffled.

#### wwjmbd

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We spend more time on our pc's than in the woods and our deers is smarter.

#### Bowtech

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Differences ... NS has mild winters which increases fawn survival and almost no winter losses. Smaller geographical size, more private ground, etc. NB has about 70,000 deer at present and has a doe draw, prior to that we were harvesting more than NS.

#### KPR

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Crossbows.
Damn ya beat me to it!!!!!!!!!

Land access liberties and a longer season may play a part.
I think you'll see huge changes next year when they compile the data from this year.

Don't let them boys tell ya it was cuz of crossbows either out of 1000+ members on the NS board there were 2 crossbow kills,haven't visited the Crossbow assoc site so not sure whats posted there....

#### caperaway

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If you look at those stats we sold 3000 more licenses than we have deer.Something screwy with the numbers.I can't see DNR selling 38000 licenses when there are only 35000 deer.The population could theoretically be wiped out in one season.

#### nbbucks

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If you look at those stats we sold 3000 more licenses than we have deer.Something screwy with the numbers.I can't see DNR selling 38000 licenses when there are only 35000 deer.The population could theoretically be wiped out in one season.
I agreee that mumber seems low to me. I was reading they do their estimate from a pellet survey.

#### I'M a Proffesional

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yep....gotta be something screwy with those figures,almost like there's a 100,000 missing in front of the 35?More temperate coastal climate,less predators,less hunters....something aint right?
I hunt deer in both provinces and can tell you from my experience that there are as many coyotees there as here.Deer unsure but hants country and merigomish are poluted with them like rats.

#### Axeman

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I'd question the deer population size in Nova Scotia. There is no way they are shooting 10,000 deer if there are only 35,000 deer on the hoof.

They use pellet counts to estimate deer numbers in NS...how accurate is that? Also, do they account for the "urban" deer along the coast?

No question they can grow deer faster than NB - winters are much more mild and usually they have much less winter kill. However, NB has only out-paced the deer harvest in NS in one or two years (I think 2007 was the first and only year we did this). I think the problem here is more numbers than real differences.

For all here that want to try and put their money where theitr mouth is.....I hear NS is looking for a Deer Biologist........

#### Bull's eye

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[quote name='Axeman' date='03 January 2011 - 09:55 AM' timestamp='1294062949' post='14708']

They use pellet counts to estimate deer numbers in NS...how accurate is that?

Very accurate. Studies have revealed that an average deer defecates 13 times a day. Therefore, in a known yarding area, pellet count numbers divided by 13, while performing daily observations, can really give you a good indication of the local herd.

I don't know if deer yard or not in NS, but if they are highly concentrated in suburban and / or agri areas, this is a great population extrapolation method.

As far as I know, we still use aerial surveys here in NB to extrapolate.....how accurate is this you tell me when a plane flies over a DWA?....the one or 2 that are left standing anyway...

As KPR noted, more liberal hunting seasons, and the ease of access to hunting areas could be a factor in hunter success rate. I think it is safe to assume that of the 10,000 deer legally harvested here in NB in the last 2 years, more than 80% came from Southern zones (milder climate, agri / suburban areas)....further, hunter success rates in those areas is probably close to 25% ?

#### Want a Moose Tag

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Hey Axeman, Does the NS government care more about their deer herd than the NB government? If not, then it would be a head banging opportunity.

#### Bowtech

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They use pellet counts to estimate deer numbers in NS...how accurate is that?

Very accurate. Studies have revealed that an average deer defecates 13 times a day. Therefore, in a known yarding area, pellet count numbers divided by 13, while performing daily observations, can really give you a good indication of the local herd.

I don't know if deer yard or not in NS, but if they are highly concentrated in suburban and / or agri areas, this is a great population extrapolation method.

As far as I know, we still use aerial surveys here in NB to extrapolate.....how accurate is this you tell me when a plane flies over a DWA?....the one or 2 that are left standing anyway...

As KPR noted, more liberal hunting seasons, and the ease of access to hunting areas could be a factor in hunter success rate. I think it is safe to assume that of the 10,000 deer legally harvested here in NB in the last 2 years, more than 80% came from Southern zones (milder climate, agri / suburban areas)....further, hunter success rates in those areas is probably close to 25% ?
I would disagree that pellet counts are "Very Accurate". It produces a higher estimates of deer densities than either aerial surveys or demographic models by quite a bit. I would say the aerial method is pretty good considering we ran the Trail Cam survey here the last two years and we were bang on with the aerial estimation for the zone. Whether that was more luck than good management who knows but there is quite a number of papers out there to suggest pellet count is not the way to go. here is just one exerpt...

The Journal of Wildlife Management © 1991 Allen Press

Abstract
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) pellet groups were counted in the $839-\text{km}^{2}$ Bearville Study Area in northcentral Minnesota during spring 1982-86. Neither abundance of pellet groups nor extrapolated deer density was significantly correlated ($r^{2}<0.21$, P > 0.43) with annual population estimates derived from aerial surveys. Extrapolation of pellet counts (assumed defecation rate = 33 groups/day) resulted in annual estimates of deer density 0.4-1.5 times estimates from aerial surveys. Pellet count data suggested the mean annual finite rate of change (λ) was 0.94 (90% CI = 0.89-0.99), higher than that documented by aerial surveys (0.79) or a demographic model (0.84). The use of pellet groups to index deer numbers or population change is limited.

#### Axeman

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Beat me to the punch! Actually, Todd Fuller in 1991 wrote a paper titled "Do pellet counts index white-tailed deer numbers and population change?" and found no relationship between pellet counts and aerial surveys that were corrected for observer bias....both that estimated a known population of radio marked deer. There are lots more that show that deer defication rates vary widely, and that pellet group counts are wrought with error in trying to determine accurate deer densities. This is why most people don't use them any longer. They were popular back in the 60's and 70's, and I think even were done here in good old NB in the 1970's, but much better methods exist today to estimate deer numbers. The camera survey is actually more reliable than counting....dung.

Actually Bullseye - I'd agree with you that an aerial survey would be quite bias if flown over a deer yard.... unless the intent was to count yarded deer as they do in Quebec. I believe this is why they are not done in NB when deer are yarded. Maybe you know something that I don't......

#### Bull's eye

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[quote name='Axeman' date='03 January 2011 - 01:04 PM' timestamp='1294074270' post='14731']

Actually Bullseye - I'd agree with you that an aerial survey would be quite bias if flown over a deer yard.... unless the intent was to count yarded deer as they do in Quebec. I believe this is why they are not done in NB when deer are yarded. Maybe you know something that I don't......
[/quote]

Flight surveys and / or observations were conducted a long while back over known DWA's, when there were a ''countable'' population of deer in some Crown Land areas. The areas of concern to me, comprising mostly the Northern Half of NB, had huge deer yards with even some that had unbelievable populations (Simpson's Field Deer Yard comes to mind). Of course this was in an era when Crown Land was being ''opened for business'' so to speak and vast areas were levelled but producing highly nutritious re-gen browse for the ever opportunistic whitetails, which abounded during this period (mid 70s to mid 80s). Fast forward a few years, construction / elaboration of the NB skidoo trail system (trail 19 brought the coyote from NW NB and wiped out the Sampson yard in the span of 3 years, despite DNR's best efforts to cull the invasive predator by any means necessary). Fast forward a few more years, more and more liberal blocks of timber harvested on Crown Land, reduced buffer zones near watercourses, absolutely no incentive (at least then...) to conserve and protect PNAs (Protected Natural Areas) = disaster in the making, no more shelterbelts providing ample food / cover from the elements / predators to give our Crown Land deer a fighting chance. THIS is what killed our deer, not overharvesting / poaching by certain ethnic groups or cultures...Fast forward to today, in my neck of the woods, a lot of areas in Northern NB on private grounds (and some on Crown Land still...) have emerging populations of suburban and agricultural deer, not unlike much of what is found in certain areas of Southern NB. QDM is slowly but surely catching on like everywhere else, but for the lack of political will, no deer census are being conducted, nor any intentions by our Government elect to do so.

Thus, the only method for evaluating deer densities (as far as I know...) are from road kill counts and fetus analysis of road kills. All of the remaining closed zones have been closed now for 18 years, and the closure has done absolutely no more or no less for the local deer.

In my perspective, a deer pellet count, or at least transect lines count in known micro-yards, would give our biologists and game managers some objective information to digest and come up with a substainable game management plan.....not just wait until the road kill numbers goes over a certain pre-established treshold from 18 years ago to warrant zones re-opening.

I know that my perspective must differ from a lot on this site, when it comes to game management, but I strongly believe that in order to ensure continuation of this wonderful tradition of hunting in this Province, a more privatized approach to game management has to take place.

As an honest working man and a taxpayer in this Province, I feel dejected when I know I'll have to drive an hour + to go sit in a tree stand with my son to hone his bowhunting skills, all the while having a fair quantity of ready willing and able deer happily rambling about a mere 10km radius from my dwelling...That's just my honest opinion.

Here's a good read on pellet counts, anything would be better than nothing IMHO....

Three techniques have potential for monitoring relative abundance: track/trail counts, pellet group counts, and transect counts. The latter may be split into day counts or night (spotlight) counts. The method to use depends on a number of variables which will vary with species, study objectives, season, habitat and access. While there is no overall 'best' method, pellet group counts and spotlight counts are recommended as the most suitable methods for monitoring relative abundance of cervids in British Columbia. Pellet group counts are most preferred, because of the comparatively high precision and accuracy with which pellet groups can be surveyed, and a high general applicability (can be used for almost any species in a range of habitats). Spotlight counts generally have a lower general applicability throughout the province (an extensive road network and open habitat are required). However, where road access is good and there is open habitat, this technique may be considered a better alternative to pellet counts. Spotlight counts have been found to be particularly useful for black-tailed deer, which typically occupy habitats with dense ground cover, making pellet group counts difficult.

3.5.1 Pellet Group Counts
First described by Bennett et al. (1940), fecal pellet group counts are probably the most widely used indices for monitoring ungulate abundance. Pellet group counts have been used as the primary inventory monitoring technique at the statewide level in Michigan (Bowden et al. 1969), at a herd level in Utah and Nevada (Robinette et al. 1958) and at numerous smaller study areas (Bennett et al. 1940; Neff 1968; Ryel 1971; Batcheler 1975; Freddy and Bowden 1983a; Stordeur 1984). The technique has been used to monitor habitat use and distribution (Collins and Urness 1981; Leopold et al. 1984; Loft and Kie 1988), as an index of relative ungulate abundance to monitor population fluctuations (Rowland et al. 1984; Stordeur 1984; Fuller 1991;1992) and in conjunction with defecation rates to estimate absolute abundance (Bennett et al. 1940; Eberhardt and Van Etten 1956; Neff 1968; Dzieciolowski 1973; Freddy and Bowden 1983a).

Two basic sampling methodologies exist for pellet group counts. The traditional sampling scheme involves counting pellet groups within bounded circular plots or fixed-width (strip) transects (Neff 1968). Robinette et al. (1958) found circular plot transects were more efficient than fixed-width transects, and required fewer transects to achieve similar precision. The required plot size is affected by the density of pellet groups in the study area (Neff 1968) and the distribution of pellet groups (i.e., uniform vs. clumped, Freddy and Bowden 1983a). Plot size should be sufficiently large to minimize the number of zero-count plots (Neff 1968). However, that must be balanced against the tendency for observers to miss more pellet groups in larger plots, which may result in under-estimates (Kie 1988). More plots are required to obtain a given level of precision when pellet group densities are low (Kie 1988), or have non-uniform distribution (Robinette et al. 1958, Freddy and Bowden 1983a). Generally, small areas require more sampling per unit area than larger areas for a given level of precision.

A more recently developed pellet group sampling scheme is the distance method (Batcheler 1975), which is based on the distance-to-nearest-neighbour concept (Clark and Evans 1954; Batcheler 1971). In Batcheler's (1975) design, sample points were spaced 18 m apart along randomly chosen transect lines. The distance from the sample point to the center of the nearest pellet group and the distance from that centroid to the centroid of the pellet group closest to it were measured. For both groups, a maximum distance to be searched (5.6 m for the first pellet group and 3.7 m for the second group) were chosen so that measurements were obtained at a minimum of half of the sample points. Statistical methods for this method were originally presented by Batcheler (1975) and corrected by Fisher (1979).

In a comparison using both the distance method and plots, Goulet (1984) found that the distance method required much less time and effort but provided the same accuracy and precision as the temporary plot technique. On average, it took less than half the time to complete a distance method plot as it did a plot. Those time savings might be even greater in especially brushy or difficult terrain, where the task of establishing plot boundaries and searching for pellets is very time consuming. Because of the logistical considerations, the distance method is particularly suited to work over large geographic areas where extensive rather than intensive surveys are needed (Goulet 1984).

Because the distance method is independent of plot size, search time depends on pellet group density and will be lower at high densities. Kie (1988) recommends a relatively small maximum search distance (1.8 to 3.7 m) to minimize search time. Goulet (1984), however, efficiently used a maximum search distance of 10 m. Using a larger search distance can have a significant statistical advantage by reducing the number of zero-count plots, which appreciably reduce precision when they occur.

Both temporary and permanent plots have been used for pellet group sampling. Determining which is more appropriate depends upon the objectives of the study and whether or not it is possible to differentiate between "old" and "new" pellets. In studies for monitoring trends in ungulate populations, it is necessary to be able to identify those pellets which were deposited within the last year. The standard approach for that has been to establish permanent plots and to mark or remove all pellet groups from the plots once they have been counted (Neff 1968). Methods for marking pellets have been evaluated by Kufeld (1968) who found that the visibility of pellets marked with paint ranged from 14 to 96 percent after 10.5 months. Removing each pellet group is the only way to be certain that it is not subsequently recounted in following years. Where time savings is an important consideration, and pellets are marked rather than removed, the use of yellow traffic striping paint is probably the best option (Kufeld 1968). That must be done with the understanding that for some of the pellet groups the mark will have worn off by the next year.

There are two main problems in the use of temporary plots: 1) the error associated in differentiating between new and old pellets, and 2) the potential variation in plot location when plots are re-established annually. Several authors have concluded that new pellets can be subjectively distinguished from old groups provided surveys are conducted in the spring (Ferguson 1955; Robinette et al. 1958; Freddy and Bowden 1983b). Further, in a study comparing permanent and temporary plots in Colorado, Freddy and Bowden (1983b) found that variation in the re-establishment of temporary plots did not result in lower precision. Both methods provided similar estimates of pellet group density, and both were equally subject to zero pellet group counts per plot and to extremes in numbers of groups. Temporary plots cost only half as much as permanent plots to establish and 16% less annually to monitor (Freddy and Bowden 1983b).

Interpretation of pellet group information must be done with caution when examining relative habitat use. Collins and Urness (1981) reported that 30% of pellet deposition occurred while deer were traveling, an activity which comprised only 4% of the animals' day. They also noted that pellet group counts did not correctly rank habitat subunit use.

Applicability of the pellet group count varies within the province. In coastal biogeoclimatic zones, the technique is less appropriate due to high (and variable) pellet deterioration rates and thick ground vegetation which increases search time and decreases pellet visibility (Harestad and Bunnell 1987). In drier biogeoclimatic zones, however, these factors are less problematic and pellet counts can provide a useful index of relative abundance.

The protocol recommended for pellet group counts in British Columbia is based on the approach outlined in detail by Smith et al. (1969). This approach uses linear transects with circular plots spaced at regular intervals along the transect. The plots are counted and cleared each year. While the technique has been used to estimate absolute abundance, by assuming a defecation rate and total days of occupancy on the winter range, potential errors in the defecation rate make it more suitable as a method for estimating relative abundance. The technique has been used for long-term monitoring of white-tailed deer populations in the Pend d'Oreille where population trends revealed from pellet group counts were consistent with trends revealed by spotlight counts (Gwilliam pers. comm.). The distance method of Batcheler (1975) is not recommended. If the survey area is considered to be too large for practical application of pellet group plots, then aerial inventory methods should be used.

#### wonksy

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Very accurate. Studies have revealed that an average deer defecates 13 times a day.
That was me over the xmas holidays Ca'mon!!

#### Axeman

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Bullseye;
Could it be that DNR actually uses two different aerial surveys? The ones you refer to in the 70's and 80's were done with fixed wing cessnas to record what areas deer used in winter when they were yarded. The flying they currently do is done in the late fall or early winter, and it is apparently to estimate deer numbers. If I'm not mistaken, many flights have been in the north, and this is used as well as roadkills and other indices (like how many deer are seen by moose hunters in northern zones every fall) to determine numbers. I'd say all three of these are better than counting turd.

Can't agree with you more about the change in the forest in the north.

I don't know why guys from the north haven't petitioned to have a bow season in the north. Can't see how this would hurt anything.

#### Bowtech

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I don't know why guys from the north haven't petitioned to have a bow season in the north. Can't see how this would hurt anything
Now there is a good idea!!!!

#### Big Bore

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I would rather pettition to get all those nuisance deer around quispamsis haulled up here... ha! ha! ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#### Bull's eye

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Bullseye;
Could it be that DNR actually uses two different aerial surveys? The ones you refer to in the 70's and 80's were done with fixed wing cessnas to record what areas deer used in winter when they were yarded. The flying they currently do is done in the late fall or early winter, and it is apparently to estimate deer numbers. If I'm not mistaken, many flights have been in the north, and this is used as well as roadkills and other indices (like how many deer are seen by moose hunters in northern zones every fall) to determine numbers. I'd say all three of these are better than counting turd.

Can't agree with you more about the change in the forest in the north.

I don't know why guys from the north haven't petitioned to have a bow season in the north. Can't see how this would hurt anything.
Great minds think alike Axeman, I'm working on a proposal this winter to bring forth arguments to the Ministry to re-instate at least an early bow season on deer in Northern zones. I just don't see any valid arguments against it. Diehard serious hunters (like myself) would be thrilled to get back in the game of bowhunting (sorry I couldn't care less for bears...). This would additionaly cause less "migrant hunters" going South to hunt, best of both worlds right?

On any given nite in the late summer early fall, I grab my flyrod and go salmon fishing with my sons for a couple of hours.

I would just love to be able to give 'em same opportunity you guys have every other night in early fall climbing in their stand, strapping a harness and slipping the release on....and maybe, just maybe, they could outdo their ol'man.........priceless!!!

I've been fortunate enough to hunt Western Canada for the past 4 years now, but I wouldn't trade a successful NB deer hunt with my sons for all the money and the B&C bucks in the world!

As for flight line surveys, they are now performed with helicopters, I talked to one of the pilots a couple of years back at the Airport and he told me deer were a rare sight from the sky up here....little to wonder in such a pesticide wasteland... On private land now, it's a totally different ball game....and the chopper can't see much in thick canopy white spruce and balsam fir stands.....the few remaining which still arbor quite a few deer...on private land and / near suburban areas, and in a few pockets of Crown Land. If you spend the time I spend in the woods, you know where your quarry is, I don't need a map to find deer, I just need a legitimate means of harvesting one, in the form of a huntable WMZ, like most other New Brunswickers...is that too much to ask?

#### Axeman

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Great discussion. On the helicopter survey..... Yes, most surveys done with helicopters are useless in spruce/fir forests. However, I thought a pretty sharp guy in Quebec devised the survey they fly here and in Quebec - a guy by the name of Potvin. He sdaw thre problem most surveys had, and made his survey slower, closer to the ground to cause deer to move and make them more visible, and then put bubble windows on the chopper so the guys surveying look straight down on the trees - which reduces paralax (not being able to see through trees at an angle. Sprice and fir trees look far different when you look down on them rather than through them. I hear the survey works so good that the Stae of maine is using it this year to count deer in northern and central Maine! http://www.sunjournal.com/state/story/954067

If most guys are using this survey and not pellet counts - that must tell you something......

#### Bull's eye

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Thanks for this great piece of info. I guess as long as no undued stress is caused to yarded deer with such a fly pattern in the peak of winter (which I strongly doubt can be achieved), this would be a very representative method of quantifying the remnants of our Northern Deer herd.

I say would because as far as I know, and as far as I have inquired to DNR, no such surveys are being conducted up here...

I'll have to have a talk with our local DNR big game biologist LG on this matter.

Tks again,

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