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#5757548 - 05/24/15 12:56 PM Deer Survey
titan2232 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/29/14
Posts: 3022
Loc: Conroe, TX
Looking for some insight on doe/buck ratios and the best ways to determine it.

Here's a little background: Eastern Val Verde County, total LO property 17K+ acres, 3200 acres our portion, year round water from 4 locations on our section, lots of draws and cover for whitetails.

LO says his last survey 2 years ago showed a 2-1 ratio and that he'll get another survey done this year.

10 spots with cameras set up with accurate dates/time should give a good idea?

I've heard people using spot lights, but that seems difficult with the draws and peaks throughout the property.

What methods do you guys use?
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#5758616 - 05/25/15 10:56 AM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
mulie_mike Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 6479
Loc: El Paso Texas
I hunt Val Verde county in several areas and we spot light survey all the time and have big hills and canyons.
We just don't go based off of one survey but will do 3 or 4 a few weeks apart to get a good average. When it
can be afforded a fly over is the best way to go.
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#5758628 - 05/25/15 11:06 AM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
titan2232 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/29/14
Posts: 3022
Loc: Conroe, TX
Thanks Mike. Does comparing game cam photos from all feeder locations on the property sound like a decent way to calculate doe to buck ratios?
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#5759651 - 05/25/15 11:31 PM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
dkershen Online   content


Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 15173
Loc: Denton/Argyle
Originally Posted By: titan2232
Thanks Mike. Does comparing game cam photos from all feeder locations on the property sound like a decent way to calculate doe to buck ratios?


That'll help. And so will Mikes method. Also be sure and call your county biologist. He should be doing yearly areal surveys as well as fawn survival counts. Just tell him where your ranch is and you might be surprised with how much data he has for the area.
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#5795213 - 06/18/15 02:50 PM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
fishbait Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 27
Loc: Dewitt County
A few things you need to know...helicopter survey ...if there are brush then the survey will not be very accurate
If you use a spotlight...only 60% accurate ..only trend data should be used over years, only to use it for harvest.
Using camera data is 80 to 90% accurate but hard to use for large acreage..I use it for 700 acres and that takes a lot of time and effort...but accurate. you can determine ratio in about 5 days and complete survey in 14 days but you will need a camera for every 150 acres...which can be moved around to cover more area. I use the "Quality Deer Management [censored]. " process.
I used spotlight for years...like parks and wildlife...if you see the true data it will not take long before you realize how inaccurate that process is....however for large areas, it may be best for the amount of effort. If you want accurate results use cameras. just my 2 pennys

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#5795332 - 06/18/15 04:21 PM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
IME Spotlight and Aerial Helicopter survey are not very accurate for actual numbers. They can get you good trend data year to year. I have seen both methods only show 25% more or less of the actual numbers depending on ranch and terrain. Incidental/stand counts help to get ratios. Like posted above TC survey is pretty good for hard numbers on bucks. Once you have number of bucks you can use spotlight, helicopter, incidental or stand count for your ratios of bucks to doe and fawn numbers then take your actual buck numbers from the TC counts to set you a minimum number of deer. If you have feed consumption data that will really help.
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#5796751 - 06/19/15 02:49 PM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
Big_Ag Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 1010
Loc: Denton or Knox County
X2 on the TC method. To get my buck to doe ratio I put out cameras in early fall after velvet has been shed and begin by counting the total number of distinct/different bucks on the TC photos. Once you determine how many different bucks you have, then count all bucks in all photos (yes, even the repeats) and then count all does in all photos. Divide the number of total bucks counted by the number of distinct bucks you identified. (ex. You had 1500 buck images/50 distinct different bucks = 30 which is the avg # of times each buck was photographed). Add up how many does images you had in the same time period and divide by your answer to the buck formula (ex. you had 3000 total doe images /30 = 100). So in the example your buck to doe ratio is 100 does/50 bucks or 2/1. Note that my calculations do not include fawns. For total deer estimates you would want to include fawns separately (since they are not readily identifiable as a buck or doe) in your calculations. However, understand that if you have cameras at fenced feed stations, your fawn count photos will likely be unreliable due to the inability of the fawn to jump the fence and into the camera's view.

I use a camera at every feed station which is about one for every 160 acres on our place. I do these in September and will leave them out 10 - 12 days. Even if you can't put a camera every 160 acres, getting 10 out over 3200 acres for 10 - 12 days and using the formula above should give you a pretty good idea of what your ratio is.

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#5796755 - 06/19/15 02:55 PM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23463
Loc: Texas
We are only 300 acres and change but we use trail cams, Hahn walking line, and blind counts to try to estimate density and ratios. We have never flown it, but I know people who have had their hi fence place flown and the overall population estimates were way low. They shot more does than the chopper survey said they had and still had a number left. Never seen their better bucks on the aerial survey either.
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#5796935 - 06/19/15 04:54 PM Re: Deer Survey [Re: titan2232]
stxranchman Offline
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52092
I flew a ranch right after it was HF in late Oct and it was 5100 acres. Counted about 256 deer with a ratio of 1.4 doe to 1 buck. 77 bucks and just over 100 does, rest fawns and UI...IIRC. We killed 100 does and 75 bucks the first year. Flew the next Oct at about same time and saw 40+ bucks, 40+ does and around 23 fawns IIRC with a big downward trend as expected. We killed 100 more does and 85 bucks. For the most part helicopter counts are way low IME. I used TC and feed consumption records to back up recommended harvest numbers.
I have used TC counts and feed records do survey since the early 90's. By far the most accurate method for me. I still use them today. I also do incidental/blind counts from late Oct till end of deer season to backup ratios.
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