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I have several trailcams that need a workout. So since we seem to have some people on here that know how to do a trailcam survey I would like to know how to do one correctly. From my last 8 years of photos I'm seeing a shortage of bucks. Doesn't matter if they are on private or crown land, on trails, over bait or put at the edge of fields. Doesn't matter if it's May until October or during the rut. Doesn't matter if it's after hunting season up until they shed their racks.

So tell me what I'm doing wrong because every time I post on here that the buck to doe ratio is way out of wack I get a few replying that in fact it is not what I am finding. Or maybe I should be using buck to antlerless deer ratio. Maybe that is where the difference is. Maybe they are counting button bucks towards the buck to doe ratio? Is that the right way to do things??? Shouldn't we be counting antlered bucks only?? I am having the worst year for getting buck pictures since I began putting out cameras in 2000. I have 9 out right now in various areas in southern New Brunswick

The way it's going now from what I can see we have a very young buck herd. I would rather have quality then quantity. And from what I have read on the ohter topics it looks like many guys have passed on yearling bucks this year. Looks like many would rather hunt quality then quantity.

But most areas continue to rely on button bucks for the buck crop for next year. I don't know about you but shooting a spike horn or yearling buck was something I did when I first starting hunting deer. NO interest in doing that now.

I want to see more bucks and more older bucks either on camera or hunting. Is that just unrealistic?
 

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I think it is. Unrealistic i mean

Im sure you no im with you on this one but Ive seen in my area witch is a good area maybe 3 mature deer 4.5 or older. But i have seen probbably around 20-30 small bucks yearlings to 2.5 most being in the 1.5 class And outa everyone I no who hunts around this area there was 2 mature deer killed and probably close to 10-12 1.5 and 2.5 year old deer. I dont blame people for shooting them But i bet if they let it go and shot it next year when it was more mature they would be ALOT more impressed about deer hunting.
 

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I am with you to.The does to buck is way out of wack in my area.This year seems alot worse than last year,at least last year the deer were around after dark.My cameras would go just steady between 10:00 & 4:00.This year I would only get 6 or 8 pictures in 24 hours.All the hunting shows and articals in my mags say to shot more does to keep the herd in balance but today it is way out of balance, in my area.I only saw pictures of two mature bucks and 5- 1 1/2 year old bucks with about 35 to 40 does and fawns.I do understand that there are some yearland does there but I can tell you that there are only 6 or 7 fawn this year.There are some does that are not being bread. All the articials say there should be like 3 does to 1 buck.I think this is one of the mistakes being made today and with all the cutting of the trees going on our deer are going to be vanished.I have talked with many other hunters this year and they all agree.Hunting deer is fast becoming a rich mans sport.
 

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I would suggest to start by reducing the # of cameras you put out there. Of course you're not gonna see "alot" of bucks if you keep putting 8 cameras in a little area that's 8 square miles. It must be fun hunting your areas. Imagine if every hunter would set up 8 cams each, wouldn't that be great! Can't have a piss in the woods without being caught on camera! What has hunting gone to, when you need to put cameras on every deer trail to find out if it's in fact a trail used by deer or by porcupines! What happened to good old way of scouting deer, day in & day out. Looking for signs, tracks, rubs, scrapes, beds etc. Running around with SD cards, Xtra batteries and a **** load of apples IS not called scouting deer!

As for bucks... Not all hunters go out hunting uniquely for the rack. Some hunt for meat, the antlers are considered an Extra. People that hunt uniquely for antlers, and throw away the meat should be ashamed. What seems to be SO wrong with killing a spike? It's the best meat out there. If you want to hunt for big racks and throw away the meat, fine. But don't start chirping at people that like to bag smaller bucks, cause they just happen to love deer meat!!
 

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Ok..

The way to do a camera survey is to first identify the area that you want surveyed. Lets say you pick a 600 acre block. Use an aerial map and divide your 600 acres up in square 100 acres blocks and locate your stations roughly in the center of each block. You don't want to target deer clusters but get a cross section of the whole area. Doen't have to be exactly center as you want to take into account deer travel, as you want them to find your bait and you don't want to set your bait station on a road or the middle of a swamp just because it is the exact center of the block. Pick a spot where grass or trees aren't going to interfer with identifying your deer so clean up the underbrush etc. Pre bait for 10 days with cameras off. Then run your survey for 14 consecutive days. Pick a time when natural browse (such as apple drop) does not interfere with deer using your bait. Late August/early September before human intrusion and apple drop affect your survey is a good time as you can identify fawns from does. Don't let your sites go dry of bait and use something that they prefer such as apples here in NB. Place cameras roughly 12-15 ft from the bait at approximately 3-3.5' in height. Place the bait in a horseshoe pattern as deer like to feed facing the camera and you want to be able to identify them without having one in front of the other. Set your cameras for 1-5 minute intervals but have them all set the same. One picture/ intervale. Make sure they are all working correctly before starting the survey. Set your cameras up so you aren't facing the sun or getting whiteouts or black outs, etc.
Once your survey period is over then you have to analyze your data. Any pictures that are not identifiable throw out of the survey.
Go through every picture and identify all unique antlered bucks. Usually a 14 day camera survey won't capture 100% of the deer so most use a 90% figure and multiple by .1 or 10% to account for those deer not capturd in the survey for total population /mile squared and individual numbers. Also if you do not have a full mile squared covered by the survey or 640 acres then you multiple by the difference to make it a square mile. Divide the unique bucks by the total number of buck pictures. This is your population factor. You use this number and multiple it by the total doe pictures and the total fawn (including button bucks) pictures to get your unique number of does and fawns. Once you have all your unique bucks, doe and fawn numbers you can get your buck:doe ratio and fawn recruitent numbers. You can also take all your unique buck pics and get an age class structure for your buck population.
That's it in a nutshell. I don't think I've forgotten anything but if you have questions fire away, wouldn't be the first time I forgot to mention something.
 

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I would suggest to start by reducing the # of cameras you put out there. Of course you're not gonna see "alot" of bucks if you keep putting 8 cameras in a little area that's 8 square miles. It must be fun hunting your areas. Imagine if every hunter would set up 8 cams each, wouldn't that be great! Can't have a piss in the woods without being caught on camera! What has hunting gone to, when you need to put cameras on every deer trail to find out if it's in fact a trail used by deer or by porcupines! What happened to good old way of scouting deer, day in & day out. Looking for signs, tracks, rubs, scrapes, beds etc. Running around with SD cards, Xtra batteries and a **** load of apples IS not called scouting deer!

As for bucks... Not all hunters go out hunting uniquely for the rack. Some hunt for meat, the antlers are considered an Extra. People that hunt uniquely for antlers, and throw away the meat should be ashamed. What seems to be SO wrong with killing a spike? It's the best meat out there. If you want to hunt for big racks and throw away the meat, fine. But don't start chirping at people that like to bag smaller bucks, cause they just happen to love deer meat!!
Camera surveys have nothing to do with scouting deer.

No one mentioned throwing meat away and anyone who does should, as you say, be ashamed of it. I don't think anyone one here would disagree with that.
 

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Just cause we go after a big buck does not mean i throw the meat aways, The deer i shot this year was big and mature, I let him hang for 6-7 days and then cut him up, I bet he is every bit as good as a spike buck, and instead of 70lbs of meat i have around 180lbs. Anyone who would throw away deer meat like you said, should be ashamed, but dont assume just cuz we like to shoot a big buck we throw away the meat that is just plain STUPID.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
BuckBalls - you really need to chill. Nobody is giving anybody crap for shooting yearlinig bucks. It's a fact that the buck herd is young. If you are fine with that then that's great. Keep shooting you spikes and eat your deer meat. I for one enjoy hunting the big boys. And would love to see a point rule in place for at least a few years.

And you have no idea how or where I put out my cameras. What size of an area I cover or anything. Not sure how you came to such conclusions.

As for the deer meat- I could care less that I ever eat a deer steak ever again. The last 3 deer I shot were given to a friend of mine who loves deer meat and feeds his family. I skin my own and bring them to the butcher. After that I give the meat away. I don't see anything wrong with that.

I just don't go putting cameras anywhere. I actually scout the area pretty hard prior to and then set up cameras around areas where I try and find buck sign the previous year. Then if I think it's a good spot then I'll set up a camera to see what size buck is around. If it's not big enough then I don't normally hunt the area. Which actually would be good for you. That way you could have a chance at a spike horn without getting your picture taken while taking a pee!
 

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As for the deer meat- I could care less that I ever eat a deer steak ever again. The last 3 deer I shot were given to a friend of mine who loves deer meat and feeds his family. I skin my own and bring them to the butcher. After that I give the meat away. I don't see anything wrong with that.
There's nothing wrong with that at all, the system is in place to allow it with free transfer permits. I'm sure you are, but be very wary of just bringing someone a cooler full of venison, because if someone gets caught with meat they don't have a transfer permit for there is a MANDATORY seven day jail sentence. I think that's ridiculous, but I'm not trying to hijack your thread about it.

While I disagree with you about quality over quantity, I understand and respect where you are coming from BN. I'm sure you know where i stand, but I have this naive dream of taking my kids hunting deer with me, and I'd like to do whatever it takes to grow the herd.
 

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They found that running 14 days you can get the same results as a longer period. The longer you run it the more expensive and onerous it becomes. It is a tool to determine numbers, B:D ratio, recruitment and buck age class for management purposes. So if I can get pretty much the same running it 14 days as 30 why go to 30.
 

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They found that running 14 days you can get the same results as a longer period. The longer you run it the more expensive and onerous it becomes. It is a tool to determine numbers, B:D ratio, recruitment and buck age class for management purposes. So if I can get pretty much the same running it 14 days as 30 why go to 30.
When you're doing the survey, how often do you return to the camera to check the pictures and refresh your bait pile? I'm just wondering if you should put out enough bait to last the whole 14 days (That'd be hard to do), or return to it every few days to refresh? Does it go without saying that the less you return to the area, the better chances you have to get a true survey of what's in the area?
 

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Two comments on a few things above. I've helped Bowtech with his survey in the past, and if you follow his advice, you've got it. Biggest thing is knowing your factor - many bucks are repeat and so are many does - problem is - you can tell what bucks are what, but you have little idea what does are does, and how many exactly the same does return several times in the same day. This is what overinflates your guess at does to bucks.

That the herd is mostly young deer - where would you get that? We run over 3000 deer here in NB - across the entire province. Surely someone knows what the ages of all these critters are don't they? it would be a good cross section of the deer and what ages they are wouldn't it?

Also - if we just had a good winter, doesn't this mean a lot less fawns die? Then that would mean that there is a lot more yearlings out there this fall. Anyone jknow what percent of the yearling females breed? they'd only be 6 months old last season. I heard somewhere that it was low (maybe less than 10%). If that's the case, over 90% of the yearling females out there would be barren, or dry. If there are a pile of yearling does, and most of them are dry....your point about few fawns really is immaterial. Looks to me like it depends where we are in the cycle that matters more. remember guys...half the fawns you see are the BUCKS you'll kill 3 years down the road (or shorter for guys who like shooting yearlings!)
 

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Yeah its somewhere around 8-10% of female fawns breed the first year, higher or lower depending on what part of the country/continent your on. They have to reach critical weight before they breed, somewhere around 80lbs. I think a lot of these get misidentified as "Barren" does, as well as does that loose their fawns to predators. People think they aren't getting bred when in fact very few does do not get bred.
 
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Bowtech says "...People think they aren't getting bred when in fact very few does do not get bred..."

If I recall, doesn't DNR pick up all the roadkill deer from November to end March/April and check every female for 1. a fetus, and 2. measure the fetus length in order to determine the date the doe was actually bred???

Never mind the cool research involved in determining the exact date does were bred the fall prior (fetal length will tell you exactly the day the unborn fawn was conceived)).....but how about the basic stats on how many roadkill does are actually pregnant. I don't recall the number, but I'm pretty sure it was outrageously high...which indicates to me that there are lots of bucks around if ALL the does are getting bred.

Personal opinion: There are WAY more bucks in the woods than people assume. Trailcams DON'T capture EVERYTHING and can lead folks to a false sense of "no good bucks around". I found that out first hand this year, as did another friend who was CONVINCED there were no bucks in his hunting area and had all but thrown in the towel. Guess what...he was wrong ( so was I) and we both smacked a dandy. Sometimes ya' just have to get back farther...OR...stop hunting the same old place you've always hunted for the last 15 years. The woods change, food sources change, and deer move where the food is. Just because it looks pretty to me and you, doesn't mean it's attractive to deer anymore...might have been at one time...but not enough anymore to hold them there. I'm as guilty as the next guy...takes a few seasons to let go of an area that has been good to you in the past.
 

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Personal opinion: There are WAY more bucks in the woods than people assume. Trailcams DON'T capture EVERYTHING and can lead folks to a false sense of "no good bucks around". I found that out first hand this year, as did another friend who was CONVINCED there were no bucks in his hunting area and had all but thrown in the towel. Guess what...he was wrong ( so was I) and we both smacked a dandy. Sometimes ya' just have to get back farther...OR...stop hunting the same old place you've always hunted for the last 15 years. The woods change, food sources change, and deer move where the food is. Just because it looks pretty to me and you, doesn't mean it's attractive to deer anymore...might have been at one time...but not enough anymore to hold them there. I'm as guilty as the next guy...takes a few seasons to let go of an area that has been good to you in the past.
Agree X100. You gotta change up once in a while. I've got a few spots that used be a guaranteed 185+lb 8pt or better, but now you'd be lucky to see a buck in there. Stand is still there in case it changes, but I dont expect it to change anytime soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I constantly move around checking out new and old spots I haven't hunted in a few years. I will drive an hour away to check out for deer sign. Going back to Bagdad soon.

I think I'm going to start checkin a few spots around Apohoqui where I lived one fall working on the highway project. Seems to be some good deer spots down around Sussex. Gonna check out some of the areas I hunted in the early nineties in around Penobquis. Those big farms tend to have some monster bucks up on those ridges.
And a few old spots down around Parkingdale and Portage Vale/Goshen

I'm always looking for monster bucks.
 

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Guys;
just got my latest issue of "Quality Whitetails" magazine in the mail. You get it as part of your membership in the QDMANB. The mag comes out 6 times a year, and the articles in it are things I know most of the lads here would simply LOVE. Seeing as this thread is about trail camera surveys, there was an articlwe in the Dec-Jan 2010/2011 issue titled "Turn Trail camera photos into practical hunting strategies" The article shows several pictures of the author with some dandy bucks he patterened by using a trail camera (I've yet to sit and read the article...Just got it!). Bowtech and I learned about trail camera use to estimate deer numbers through this same magazine. Several other articles in the mag are about food to plant, How to hunt educated bucks, how to use cover to hold whitetails on your land, and then an article on the latest way to score your buck on line. Tell me these are not articles all the guys here would love to read? There have been two articels in the magazione from New Brunswick also over the past 3 years.

Can't remember whether I paid 30 or 40 bucks for the QDMA membership - but in my opinion, the magazine is well worth the price. All the articles are about how to help manage deer, or improve your hunting. Not the typical "bubba shot mossy horns" as is in the other mags.
 

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Funny you mentioned Quality Whitetails. I just got done reading "Reading Buck Personalities" on the "Throne" from the latest issue. Next one will be "5 great reasons to Plant Tree Orchards" from oaks, apple, chestnut, pear, etc. Haven't got to "The Cover of Darkness" on using Infrared cameras for scouting.

I love the magazine. It is the only one I get now. Got tired of the same old same, old stories in all the others.

I read QW from cover to cover. I don't think there is anything in there that I don't find interesting and informative from the Aging Section to the Natural Species Profiles and everything in between.
 

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I constantly move around checking out new and old spots I haven't hunted in a few years. I will drive an hour away to check out for deer sign. Going back to Bagdad soon.

I think I'm going to start checkin a few spots around Apohoqui where I lived one fall working on the highway project. Seems to be some good deer spots down around Sussex. Gonna check out some of the areas I hunted in the early nineties in around Penobquis. Those big farms tend to have some monster bucks up on those ridges.
And a few old spots down around Parkingdale and Portage Vale/Goshen

I'm always looking for monster bucks.
There are no big bucks down around Sussex, Apohaqui or Penobsquis, don't waste your time and hunt somewhere else
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Girlscout,

Do you know if Cecil Ferris on Lower Bagdad road is still bringing in guys for deer hunting?

What about the guy from Camper's Cove. He used to bring in several guys every year also??

The hunting was unbelievalbe in the early nineties up until about 98 around Bagdad.
 
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