deer survey

As land managers, there’s never an offseason. One of the most important things we can do is inventory our deer late in the season or after season to see which bucks made it and to see if any new ones moved in. Maybe you notice one or two new bucks that show up late season. If you have abundant food on your property and your neighbors don’t then look for these late arrivers. If they are arriving before season ends, you might be onto a late-season hunting strategy for next year. This also allows you to look at your doe herd and see if you need to remove a few more does next year. Your food plots might not be able to carry the number of deer through the winter, so you might have to do a little more doe management next year to keep the herd healthy.

Once season has gone out, set cameras strictly on food as this is where the deer will be. If your state allows you to use bait after season, use it. Deer are readily attracted to corn and in the late season need the food and will travel to find it. This will give you the best chances for gathering the most data.

You will want to set several camera/bait stations depending on the size of your property. As a general rule of thumb, place one bait/camera station per 100 acres. While you probably can’t bait on public land, you can set cameras on good trails leading to good food sources to accomplish a post-season survey.

Don’t skimp on cameras. The more cameras you set, the more opportunity you have of collecting the data needed to really have a handle on your deer herd. After several weeks of continuously running cameras on bait sites, you should have a real good idea and be able to start your post-season scouting to look for places that may need attention for next year’s stand locations.

About the Author: Chris Parrish has won turkey calling contests at the highest level and has hunted up and down this continent. He has a well-honed knowledge of the habits and patterns of mature whitetails — having recorded 22 bucks in the Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett record books. He’s been an ambassador for PRADCO Outdoor Brands as well as many more. Chris has a passion for sharing his knowledge with others, so look for more of his articles here and at Summit Stands and Code Blue Scents.