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Posted on August 16th, 2018 in Forestry, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Deer camera captureTrail camera surveys are a great tool that provide a wealth of information about white-tailed deer and other wildlife on your property. You can gather information about deer population density, doe-to-buck ratio, and fawn recruitment, which may ultimately help guide management decisions on your property.

Here are a few tips when conducting a trail camera survey for deer.

Survey design

  • Place cameras at a density of 1 camera per 100 acres of property
  • Run cameras for 10-14 days
  • Check cameras every 4-5 days
  • Conduct surveys in the late summer before hunting season or late winter after hunting season

Camera set-up & placement

  • Set the camera to the correct date and time
  • Turn the burst mode to off
  • Set camera to a 5-10 minute delay (the delay can be shorter, but it will result in more pictures that will take longer to analyze)
  • Place the camera about waist height (2.5 – 3 feet) above the ground
  • Place the bait 10-15 feet from the camera
  • Face the camera north or south to avoid over-exposure from the sun
  • Place a ID tag on a tree in the view of the camera to differentiate camera locations

Analyzing camera data

When analyzing camera data from a survey, based on antler characteristics you can then determine the number of unique bucks captured during the survey. You also need to determine the total number of bucks, does, and fawns in all the photos. This will help you determine density, doe-to-buck ratios, and fawn recruitment (fawn-to-doe ratio). For easy data analysis check out this Trail Camera Data Computation Form from the Quality Deer Management Association.

Trail camera surveys can be a fun activity for you and your family to do prior to or after the hunting season. They can also provide you with information about deer and other wildlife that are using your property.

*Before conducting a baited camera survey be sure to check the wildlife feeding and baiting laws in your state. For the state of Indiana you can find this information in the Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide.

Conducting Camera Surveys to Estimate Population Characteristics of White-tailed Deer, Mississippi State University Extension
Estimating Deer Populations on Your Property: Camera Survey, University of Missouri Extension
How to Run a Trail-Camera Survey – QDMA
Handling Harvested Game: Field Dressing, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Bovine Tuberculosis in Wild White-tailed Deer, The Education Store

Jarred Brooke, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry & Natural Resource, Purdue University

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