Practices for Herd Censusing

How do you go about censusing a herd? Game cameras strategically placed in high-use areas (best when used with feed or bait) during the fall (preferably before the shooting starts) are invaluable censusing tools. Consistency of time and place brings best results.

If possible, wait until the fawns are at least 4 months old so they are more likely to be traveling with their mother. The more pictures you have the more accurate your census. The idea is to determine the buck:doe ratio (ratio of 1½ and older bucks and does), the recruitment rate (fawns/doe expressed as a percentage, i.e., 60 fawns/100 does is a 60% recruitment) and the buck age structure (broken into 1½, 2½ and 3½ and older age classes).

Then, study the bucks carefully and identify as many of the INDIVIDUAL bucks as possible. Then applying the count of individual bucks to the buck:doe ratio will allow you to calculate how many does you have, which will in turn allow you to calculate how many fawns you have. Totaling all this up will give you an idea of how many total deer you’re dealing with.

Posted by David Morris

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