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QDMANB Camera Survey

1325 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Russ14
Well I thought I would start a thread on the camera survey that we are doing with QDMANB through the Wildlife Trust Fund. It is hard to get the info out to hunters but I thought this forum would be a good way to keep everyone updated.

There are actually two surveys being done corresponding to the two that were done last year. One in the north and one in the south. We applied for one in the central part of the province but were not successful in getting all three. The sites are the same as last year and the information is to see how well it can be replicated to know if this is something that can be used to estimate deer densities, buck:doe ratios, buck age class and fawn recruitment. Although this type of survey was developed and refined by the Mississippi State University researchers Dr. Stephen Demarais, William McKinley and Dr. Harry Jacobson it is being used and endorsed by many other leading deer researchers and while their deer numbers and habitat are quite different than ours we thought that survey in itself could work in NB.

There are 6 adjoining sites prebaited for 7-10 days covering three properties here in the south. Each block consists of 100 acres, which will give us a total for a little less than 1 square mile. We just multiply the difference to calculate a square mile. The baits are located roughly in the center of each block. The survey then runs for 14 consecutive days.

One of the assumptions used in the survey method is that bucks and does use the bait sites equally, maybe not at the same times each day but the same amount whether that tends to be at night for many of the bucks or during daylight for many of the does. This seems to bear out in our survey as it has in others. Some areas have thought that the timing on the surveys, whether in the early fall or late winter, have an effect on whether does or bucks dominate a particular site. We didn't find animals expressing dominance by chasing off the opposite sex other than one old doe putting the run to a yearling, who kept coming back anyway
but we did find that some sites were used more by does than bucks and vise versa. Whether that was due to a dominance issue, location or just closer to their core areas remains to be seen. Two of our sites showed this, one being dominated by does only with no buck pictures at all at the site and another which was bucks only with no doe pictures. Both of these sites were located ajoining so it would appear simple dominance wasn't the issue. The other 4 sites seemed to have an equal representation (proportionally) of both bucks and does.

Last years data showed that we had 21 deer/square mile or 8 deer/km squared, 2.81 does:buck and a fawn recruitment of just over 1 fawn/doe, including yearling does. Total deer numbers/square mile were slightly higher than zone averages which was to be expected as it was on private ground with some agriculture in the surrounding areas. There are higher numbers in some areas and lower in others so it is representative of the zone average of 6 deer/km squared. The zone doe:buck average for zone 22 was 2.8 does:buck which is the exact same. DNR doesn't do fawn recruitment but we are going to do some comparison with the fawn mortality studies done and see how it corresponds.

The prebaiting phase has started and will be completed on Wednesday (tomorrow) and the camera survey will begin on Thursday. It will run for 14 days and be complete by September 30th.

Analysis of the data is done with the provincial biologist. Numbers are calculated by first going through all of the thousands of pictures and indentifying every unique buck. Then you use the total number of buck pictures against the number of individual bucks to calculate the population factor. You also calculate in an extrapolation factor which takes into account deer that may not have found or used the bait sites in the allotted time. The population factor and extrapolation factor is then used to calculate the number of unique does which will then give you the buck:doe ratio. From that you can then do the same thing and calculate the number of fawns:doe. All unique bucks are then aged "on the hoof" to give you your buck age class structure.

DNR's direct mandate is for the management of deer on crown lands and while they track numbers on a zone level there is no mechanism for determining more localized numbers. Since the majority of deer are now on private ground, it is hoped that this type of survey can be used in the future to provide real numbers to assist towns/municpalities and land owners, etc. with real numbers. Since to effectively address any deer system, the first criteria required to gain an appreciation of the situation is an estimate of the deer herd density and corresponding herd ratios. It is also our hope that we can partner with organizations operating on crown land and government to assist with providing real numbers for future management considerations.
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That's neat can't wait to hear the results.
Well I got the cameras all loaded with new batteries, verified the setting and put clean cards in them yesterday when I got home. Loaded the trailer with a 1/2 dozen bags of apples, chainsaw, clippers, cameras, etc. and set up each of the 6 sites. We used the same sites as last year although we moved two of the sites 100-150 yards to see if we could get better utilization. Since we were using the same sites there wasn't too much brush cleaning to do to get them ready. When doing the survey you want all the brush cleaned out where the animal will be standing as only one pic is taken and if the deer has it's head stuck behind a bush then it can not be included as you usually can't tell what it is.
We have been baiting for 10 days now with a bag every other day or in some cases two bags depending on site usage. We have a couple sites that I think have bears on them as they are taking a feed bag per day.
Got to one of the sites last night and jumped three grouse just before the site and saw very fresh apple bites. There were some fresh white pieces and still had the sheen of fresh juice. I was thinking I must have just pushed them off when a couple deer jumped 20 yards away and went down through the woods. Looked like a doe and fawn or maybe two. It was pretty thick and I just caught glimpses of them. Got the last site done just before dark and pushed a doe out of the field going into the last site.
When looking at the pics we'll start using the pics after midnight last night for day one and stop using the last pic before midnight on the 14th day which gives us the full 14 days.
Now I just hope that I remembered to turn all the cameras on. Nothing worse than going back to check cameras and finding out that I forgot to turn them on. I had a camera out in late summer and left it for a couple weeks only to go back and find that I forgot to turn it on

When I go back to re-bait I'll check them all to verify all are working and on.
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Rebaited twice since the last update. All sites have activity but not near as much as last year. Last year was a poor apple year and the deer were on the baits real good. This year there are apples everywhere around us so the deer are dividing their attention between the wild ones and bait sites. What it should show is a lower usage but maintain the ratios. We also switched from early soft sweet Oberle apples to the harder, tarter Paula Red's which they don't like as much. The oberles weren't lasting a week in the bins before we had a lot of rot so we started getting the PR so they would last a little longer. Each site is averaging about 15 pictures per day right now. We do have one site that only had 10 pics in total for 4 days but that was one of the sites across the road which last year was only utilized by bucks. Trying to make out the pics on the camera while rebaiting it looks like it may be the same this year. The bigger 7pt is now over across the road and visiting that bait site which is the same thing he did last year. Hopefully he'll do the same thing as last year and some back across the road to our side once October rolls around

I'm flushing a grouse or two at one site every time I go in but haven't bumped any more deer.
I know everyone is waiting for pictures but we won't have any till the survey is done, although I may switch a card or two to give everyone an early sampling

I was talking to the boys doing the site in the north and things are looking pretty bleak up there. The predators are having large impacts on fawn recruitment. Sylvain said that they had seen a number of does with fawns this spring and he has trail cam pictures of does with fawns from his own cameras earlier in the year but their camera survey is showing "0" fawns. From the looks of it they figure from what they are seeing from the cameras is that out of the 6 bait sites they have about 12 different bears, as far as they can tell. Most people don't associate bears too much with fawn depradation but they figure they are having more impact in their area than the coyotes.
Will keep you posted...
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Rebaited today and checked the cameras. Things are looking better for some sites and worse for others. One site that was the buck only site has 14 pics but most are buck pics. Activity on most other sites is picking up with some cams showing almost 200 pics in 6 days set with 1 minute interval on the cams.
I scanned through a few (dozen or so) of the pics on a couple of the cams and the 7pt is back on this side of the road and showed up on the back cam which is over 1km from the one he was captured on the other day. I saw buck pics on one other and not being able to make the pics out too well I thought it was the 7pt again but as I was going to the last site I kept thinking of how synmmetrical the rack looked and now I'm thinking maybe it isn't the 7pt but maybe that 4 year old 8pt that showed up last year after the survey was done. I won't know till I pull the cards but its eating at me now so maybe I'll switch the card next time and see whats on it. There were 174 pics on it so far. Would be great if it was another buck different from the 7pt as he should be a real nice buck this year. Here is what he looked like last year as a 3 year old.

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great info
and thanks for the updates and taking the time to keep us inform!!!!
hats of to you bowtech
Well I pulled two cards today just to see but the pic I thought might be the 8pt from last year turned out to be the 7pt.

Cameras are showing more usage with 200-400 on most of them except the two across the road on the two neighbour's properties. Less than 100 pics on both of them.

There are a couple young 1 and 2 year olds coming out in the field across the road from our property on another neighbours but they are not coming to the bait. I don't think it would be much more than 300 yards as the crow flys but they would have to cross the road which they're obviously not doing. Oh well that was why the blocks are laid out and you can't just move them where you see the deer

I didn't get a pic of the 14pt yet, well at least not on the two cams I checked. I'll leave the rest until the end of the survey and check them then. Hopefully he's around somewhere. I pulled cards from site 2 and 4. #2 being located on the South Eastern back line of our property and #4 being roughly in the centre of the property I call Doris's ground. The two sites are roughly 1/4 mile apart, maybe a little more.

I know your all just waiting for pics so I'll post a few...

Here is a couple of the 7pt on bait #4. There is also a young spike horn showing up at this site but I didn't have any good daytime pics so I didn't bother to save them to my computer
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We have the usual assortment of non target species but we have a number of pics of these guys showing up and as you can see a number of them are during daylight hours

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I thought a couple eating pics would be interesting. Here is one of a doe with her mouth full and one where a doe dropped her apple but the camera caught the pic while it was dropping.

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Here is the horned doe and spike yearling. The yearling doe is around there too but out of the pic.

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awesome photos bud...i truly am a believer in the cams now...I can't wait to have a full season at it next year!!! gonna cost me a fortune in apples lol. Gonna splurge on one more cam next year too...gonna get a good one!!!
Well the camera survey finished yesterday. I have yet to do anything other than look at some of the cards but it looks like numbers will be down some from last year, just from observations. The 14 point did not show up on any pictures on any of the bait sites which makes me a little nervous although it shouldn't since last year he was only captured one day on the cam across the road during the survey. He doesn't like showing up at bait sites too much, probably why he is as old as he is
. Was surprised to find one new 5pt buck show up. Not sure if he will be a resident deer or if we caught him during dispersal but will know better as the season progresses. 7pt is still visible but going more noctournal every day.
We have one fawn which has quite a scarring on the side of his mouth/face, not sure what from. Coyote numbers are definitely up but bear numbers are about the same as last year. Time to get the traps out and wax/dye them and clean up a few yotes as our fawn numbers are down quite a bit from last year.

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how do u afford so many apples lol...I have to pick some more up before thanksgiving my sites are getting very low...should hopefully have more pics this weekend...but ur pics are awesome BT that 7 looks better and better every time I see ur pics.
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