Hey guys, I was wondering how you go about estimating the deer population on the property that you hunt? If you do have a feel for the population, do you use it to set your harvest goals?
I hunt a property that is over 1,000 acres but woods only makes up about 400 acres. We are transitioning more towards a QDM approach every year and are very concerned about overharvesting. This year, deer sightings and our harvest was way off. We think part is due to weather and standing corn, but we also are seeing many more coyotes than ever before. With that in mind, we decided to do a deer census to determine general population, age structure and sex ratio.
We contacted Tom James with the Indiana QMA and he has been great to work with. Here is what we decided to do:
We determined 5 good spots over the 400 acres to set up corn stations. We pre-baited them this week and then will re-bait and set cameras next week. Re-bait the following week and pull the cameras after being up for two weeks. Then we will look at the photos and try to estimate the total population, buck/doe ratio and population by age. Then we will take that information and determine the number of does and bucks that we will allow to be taken this fall. As long as there isn't significant winter kill or a poor fawning season, we should be doing the right thing. Between now and fawning season we will try to take as many coyotes as possible.
Let me know your census techniques if you do something different.