Effective Use of Motion-Sensor Cameras for Better Deer Management
Moultrie Feeders, the makers of Trail cameras such as the Game Spy Cameras, spoke with Brian Murphy, a wildlife biologist and the executive director for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), about the effective use of motion-sensor cameras for better deer management.
Interview with Brian Murphy
MOULTRIE: In the interview, Murphy will tell us how deer managers across the nation are using motion-sensor cameras to manage their deer herds, while also protecting them.
MURPHY: Rather than just taking random photos of bucks that pass in front of the camera take a complete a census of your deer herd. To take a complete census, having one camera per every 100 acres is suggested. The camera needs to be set near a desirable food source like corn in the late summer or early fall. The census should only run for about 10 days, and research has shown this type of census will capture 95% of a deer herd from any given piece of property.
MOULTRIE: Brian, motion-sensor cameras have earned a lot of publicity in the last few years for deer hunting. How can Moultrie's trail cameras be useful and effective for deer managers as well as deer hunters?
MURPHY: Obviously, motion-sensor cameras are highly effective when used to catalog deer of various sexes and ages. Most hunters are interested in cataloguing the numbers or the sizes of bucks on their properties. But if they'll spend more time looking at the deer and dividing them into age categories like yearling, 1-1/2, 2-1/2-, 3-1/2- and 4-years or older, the hunters will know each age class of deer living on the property. And, it can help to identify the individual bucks they may want to try and harvest during deer season.
MOULTRIE: In a healthy deer herd, what percentage of bucks should fall in the 1-1/2-, 2-1/2- and older-age classes?
MURPHY: In most herds, the younger bucks are going to be the most numerous because they were just born and haven't had an opportunity to go through a deer season. Buck fawns will be more numerous than yearling bucks and 2-1/2 to 3-1/2-year olds.
Minimum size and number of points also affect the number of deer in the different classes. If all the 1-1/2-year-old bucks are protected on the property, than naturally the land, the club or the lease will have more 1-1/2-year-old bucks than 2-1/2-year-old bucks.
Generally, most quality deer managers want to protect the 1-1/2-year-old bucks, and on some hunting leases, they'll even protect the 2-1/2-year-old bucks. With either of these management programs, you'll see more bucks under the age of 3-1/2-years old. However, under a quality-managed program, you can expect 25 % or more of your bucks to be 3-1/2-years old or older.
With intensive management, you may have as much as 50 % of your bucks 3-1/2 years or older. Quality motion-sensor cameras like those Moultrie's make allow you to determine how good a job of deer management you're actually doing.
Trail cameras have been proven during a number of extensive studies to be as good, if not better than the vast majority of deer-census techniques known to be used for white-tailed deer, particularly in forested habitat, primarily what's found in the southern and the eastern portions of the country. In other sections of the country like Texas and other arid states, helicopter- and fixed-winged plane censuses have shown to be effective, however, even these aerial censuses don't seem to be as accurate as the censuses motion-sensor cameras make.
MOULTRIE: Idealistically, what should the ratio be of bucks-to-does on any piece of property?
MURPHY: A realistic adult-sex ratio of bucks-to-does should only include the number of racked bucks to the number of adult does that are at least 1-1/2-years of age. Having 1-1/2- to 2-1/2-adult does per buck on the property is an obtainable, realistic ratio. You will have a very-good quality deer herd if you can reach and maintain that sex ratio. Your sex ratio is out of proportion if you have 3-1/2- to 4-1/2-adult does per adult buck. If you have 3 to 4 does per buck, then you need to consider the possibility of removing some of the adult does from the herd.
The Moultrie Solution
Moultrie combines ease of use and dependability with the Game Spy digital motion sensor camera series. We offer a full line of Trail Cameras to monitor your deer trails effectively. Moultrie provides high-performing wildlife cameras without the high price tag!
About Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA)
The QDMA is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization with more than 40,000 members in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Membership in QDMA is open to anyone interested in better deer and better deer hunting. To learn more about the QDMA, call (800) 209-DEER [(800) 209-3337] or visit www.QDMA.com.
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