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#7218272 - 07/07/18 05:28 PM Another MLD Survey Question
Jgraider Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 1054
Loc: West Texas
I have had our mule deer ranch enrolled in the MLD program for the past 2 years. This past year we got a new biologist assigned to us, as the other one moved on to greener pastures.

Question: How many deer surveys (census) am I required to do in order to get tags issued for 2018-19? I know what the new biologist is telling me, but I suspect he is wrong. I'm curious as to what you guys in a similar situation are doing, as per your biologist requests. Thanks in advance.

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#7218282 - 07/07/18 05:38 PM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
therancher Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 6584
Loc: Mountain Home, Uvalde, and Big...
If you helicopter survey itís always been just one.
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#7218283 - 07/07/18 05:40 PM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
Jgraider Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 1054
Loc: West Texas
Thenk you sir. What if you do spotlight surveys?

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#7218309 - 07/07/18 06:20 PM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
stxranchman Online   content
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52960
For WT, IIRC it took 3 minimum. I always did 3-4 so that if one was way different due to lack of deer movement I could leave it out. Not sure about MD.
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#7218524 - 07/08/18 07:44 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
Jimbo Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 5019
Loc: The last LF ranch in S. Texas
I've hunted on a ranch that did spotlight surveys, and from my own experience they have not been very accurate.
As mentioned above it depends solely on deer movement, and without that taken into consideration how can they be accurate?
multiple surveys are going to be more accurate if taken at the right time, not haphazardly.

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#7218539 - 07/08/18 08:14 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jimbo]
therancher Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 6584
Loc: Mountain Home, Uvalde, and Big...
All surveys are inaccurate. Quit doing spotlight surveys years ago because they are the most inaccurate (at least for whitetail) and the most time consuming.

They allow you to survey by game cam if you donít want to fly it.
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Crotchety old bastidge

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#7218562 - 07/08/18 08:37 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
Jgraider Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 1054
Loc: West Texas
Thanks for the help. I realize spotlight surveys are relatively inaccurate, but flying a 65000 acre place can get expensive in a hurry so that may not be an option every year. It turns out, as was the basis for my question, that the new biologist is correct in that he told me he needed 3 spotlight surveys in order to issue tags.

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#7218563 - 07/08/18 08:37 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
stxranchman Online   content
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52960
I participated in the Hill Country once on test of 3 different survey methods in 90's. The helicopter was done first, then spotlight survey and then on the day of the field day we lined up two lines of people 50-70' apart and walked the ranch counting deer. The helicopter survey was the most inaccurate, then the spotlight and the most accurate was the last. But it also took the most people to do. IIRC the helicopter was in the 20% to 30% range for numbers compared to the walking line. The spotlight was in the 30% to 40% range. Ranch was HF and around 600 acres. The feed consumption records fit the spotlight numbers but did not fit the actual numbers for hill country habitat. They had been harvesting by TPWD guidelines and never took over 16% of the bucks based off of the spotlight counts. They had way more deer than what they thought. The field was put together to see what survey, if any was the most accurate with terrain and cover being the key.
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#7218570 - 07/08/18 08:41 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
stxranchman Online   content
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52960
Originally Posted By: Jgraider
Thanks for the help. I realize spotlight surveys are relatively inaccurate, but flying a 65000 acre place can get expensive in a hurry so that may not be an option every year. It turns out, as was the basis for my question, that the new biologist is correct in that he told me he needed 3 spotlight surveys in order to issue tags.

I have a friend that is biologist on an almost 70,000 acre ranch in South Texas and he did not fly the whole ranch but large sections of it for his MLD survey. He would grid the ranch and flew one set of large grids one year and the other grids the next year. Sort of looked like a checker board. Not sure how that would work with mule deer since they can move large distance to crops or where it rains on a ranch or in that area.
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#7218858 - 07/08/18 04:39 PM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
SapperTitan Online   content
Taking Requests

Registered: 11/17/10
Posts: 25411
Loc: Killeen/Ft Hood, TX
I have been doing my own surveys just because I want to and I use my thermal. Ive found many surprising things so far like deer bedding down in areas I had no clue they would want to bed down like middle of big open fields far from thick cover, ive found big groups of deer like 10-15 at a time when I rarely get more than 2-4 at a feeder at a time, ive counted many fawns already this year. I think the most ive counted in a night so far is around 40 and most were no where close to our feeders but bedded down on the north side of cover blocking the wind from the south. Its fun to get out and scout these deer at night when they have no clue anyone is there, thermal is a great tool.
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#7219558 - 07/09/18 11:56 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 28021
Loc: Texas
A buddy has their HF place flown every year. The first year they shot as many does as the survey said they had total by the end of the season and still had plenty left.
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It's hell eatin em live

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#7219576 - 07/09/18 12:10 PM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
stxranchman Online   content
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52960
I flew a ranch a few years back that was over 5000 acres. I saw 254 deer from the air that morning. IIRC 109 were does and 77 bucks and 48 were fawns the rest were unidentified deer that just caught a glimpse of. We then caught 40 does to put in 2 DMP pens with 2 bucks caught off the ranch. So that left 69 does and 75 bucks. That season shot 100 does and 75 bucks off that year to pull numbers down. The next year I flew and saw 45 bucks and 23 does(not counting any tagged does let out of DMP). We put 40 does back in DMP with 2 bucks. We shot 100 more does and 85 bucks that year. Based off of feed consumption and TC pics of bucks with incidental counts on deer that we only saw 40% of the deer the first year it was flown. I am sure that in more open country of West Texas the helicopter counts could be more accurate but in South Texas and Hill Country they are not very accurate IME. You just hope to see trends in the year to year counts.
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#7220475 - 07/10/18 09:28 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
Jimbo Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 5019
Loc: The last LF ranch in S. Texas
Do any of the ranches that have these surveys done have any sort of predator control, (coyotes, hogs, and lions) or do they not factor in very much?
Reason I'm asking is a place I hunt on puts a lot of emphasis on deer surveys and quota's, but ignores the elephant in the room.


Edited by Jimbo (07/10/18 09:29 AM)

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#7220521 - 07/10/18 10:11 AM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: Jgraider]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 28021
Loc: Texas
I believe you are suppose to incorporate a recruitment estimate into your survey process, or how many fawns make it. Not saying predators only eat fawns either, but think its the majority they do eat.
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It's hell eatin em live

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#7220827 - 07/10/18 02:43 PM Re: Another MLD Survey Question [Re: redchevy]
Texan Til I Die Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 2123
Loc: Central Texas
One biologist I worked with had us calculate 25% - 30% fawn mortality from all causes, with the majority being from predation. This was on the west side of the Rolling Plains and we had a huge number of yotes and bobcats.
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Silver spurs and gold tequila
keep me hanging on.
Pretty girls and old cantinas
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