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Helicopter Survey #7436893 02/18/19 02:09 AM
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During a helicopter survey what percentage of the animals typically get counted?


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7436911 02/18/19 02:21 AM
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100% of what they see...... confused2







Seriously, I've often wondered the same thing....just how accurate/complete they are vs just a sampling.....waiting for the experts to chime in. I would think from a helicopter in winter it should be fairly high in accuracy.... 2cents


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7437028 02/18/19 04:48 AM
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I am no expert but would assume they use a model similar to estimating the numbers of any game. Typically there is some formula based on the size of area being surveyed, number of visual sightings, age of specimens sighted (i.e. adults vs young), and more. Obviously the more animals that can be seen ensure the odds of a better estimate. Most of the time a variety of sighting sources are used from hunter surveys, government officials, and helicopters I'm sure is a tool. This is typically the model you see when managing deer, elk, bears, wolves, and others and they use it to establish harvest quotas.


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Wheelin' Outdoorsman] #7437083 02/18/19 11:40 AM
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we did our lease survey late this year due to bad weather in October when we normally do it. 4 of us in the helicopter - was pretty easy to see most of the deer due to foliage being gone by and large. Of course we did not see 100% but I think we were seeing the majority


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7437479 02/18/19 06:16 PM
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About 12 years ago my son went on a helicopter survey on a big ranch in S. Texas that belongs to a high school buddy of his. If I remember correctly it's about 11,000 acres. He said they did do a casual count of what they saw but his friend was really only interested in trying to get an idea of the total number of deer they saw compared to previous years. His friend told him that they always saw bucks from the air that they never saw at any other time. They do 2 surveys a year. One like the one my son went on and another conducted by a biologist for their MLD purposes. I have no idea of what percentage of the total herd they see but I would think it would depend on the type of cover and general terrain they're surveying.

On a side note my son said about halfway through flying the grid he couldn't help but think "I just survived 15 months getting shot at in Iraq and now this insane chopper pilot is going to kill us all". LOL.


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7438158 02/19/19 03:40 AM
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I was told by a TPWD game biologist, that they see somewhere between 30% and 65% of the deer depending on the terrain and cover. But it's the trend that is important rather than the absolute number.

Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7438282 02/19/19 01:11 PM
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there are two things that have to be considered: For brush ranches this is not very good...around 60-70%..This info comes from reading.
For areas of mostly open the more accurate it becomes.....at best still probably less than 70%.
The most accurate is by camera....about 85-95 % accurate....depending who you ask. P&W will try to give ya very low numbers...for me from experience is very accurate. Experience will show my claim.

Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7438284 02/19/19 01:12 PM
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I know squat about it but I have a guy I know that had his survey done with a drone. Somebody came out mapped out the place on the computer them flew it with the drone. Seemed like it was less than a grand for around 1000 acres.

Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7438348 02/19/19 02:14 PM
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A drone with IR camera sounds like it would be more accurate


Originally Posted by Sneaky
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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7438384 02/19/19 02:45 PM
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It can vary drastically depending on terrain and cover, as well as the number of times those deer have been flown. Some deer will always run at the sound of a helicopter, some older, wiser deer will just lay down and wait, which is obviously tougher to find and count those.

I agree with SnakeWrangler that a drone with a thermal on it would provide a much more accurate total count, but you couldn't necessarily see the size/age of the deer with a thermal.

Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: SnakeWrangler] #7438764 02/19/19 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
A drone with IR camera sounds like it would be more accurate


It will be coming to that pretty quick....


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Black02z28] #7439888 02/20/19 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Black02z28
Originally Posted by SnakeWrangler
A drone with IR camera sounds like it would be more accurate


It will be coming to that pretty quick....


I would think it would be a lot cheaper too.

Having video and thermal should get you a pretty good sample


Originally Posted by Sneaky
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Actually, BBC is pretty damn good

"You Cannot Simultaneously Be Politically Correct And Intellectually Honest!"
Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7440150 02/21/19 03:22 AM
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A lot depends on the canopy, thickness of the cover, time of year and how many times the ranch has been flown. I participated in a field day where they did 3 survey methods...spotlight, helicopter then a survey lining up people about 70' apart and walked the whole ranch(HF) to count the deer. Based off the walking survey the other 2 methods were under 30% of the total on the ranch. I flew a large ranch the first year(late Oct every year) and counted 256 deer and thought we saw 40% of what was on it. Very thick cover but not many trees over 15-20'. We killed 175 of those deer the first year. Flew it the second year and saw around 80 deer but killed 185 that year. Trail cameras showed a lot of deer on the ranch and most were not seen even in that low brush. They now use a drone and thermal camera to survey. IIRC they grid the ranch in 500 acre grids and fly/count one at a time. It was twice as expensive at a regular helicopter survey. They could count deer images but could not tell size or sex. They flew first one in early Oct and going to fly another this month after hunting season to compare numbers before season and after season. They had been doing helicopter surveys to set harvest numbers for 15 yrs but were really surprised at how much higher the actually numbers were after the drone survey was completed.


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: stxranchman] #7440815 02/21/19 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
It was twice as expensive at a regular helicopter survey.


Why was it twice as expensive?


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7442636 02/24/19 12:39 AM
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I talked to the person that had his done with a drone today. He told me the price was less than $900 for up to 2500 acres. The drone had an IR camera. He told me they could tell the Bucks from the Does. They could tell WT Bucks from Axis bucks. But not WT Does from Axis Does. He said Deer did not run from the drone but hogs did.He said the survey was done at midnight. He also said that two adjoining neighbors if less than 2500 acres could go together and do it for the $900. I do not see where you could get it flown for less money with a helicopter.

Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7443675 02/25/19 03:15 PM
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Anybody got a link to a drone using IR on deer. I would be interested in seeing that. Also, I wonder at what height they fly the drone at.


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Re: Helicopter Survey [Re: Tbar] #7450030 03/05/19 12:24 AM
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helo surveys are over rated...

they're ok for ratios, quite worthless for densities

the cattle on our lease are worked with helicopters, and the deer know how to avoid one if they want to. It's roughly 4 miles across and 7 miles long. They are going to be running long before the helicopter ever gets to them.

Last edited by kyle1974; 03/05/19 12:53 AM.
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