10 years of herd data

Greta&Gus

5 year old buck +
Previously, on the 'other' forum I posted my trail camera data over the years. Now, 10 years into running trail cameras I have a very large data set to play with. Although the number of cameras and locations have varied over time we have been fairly consistent with total number cameras since 2009. When counting bucks, I start at the shed of velvet and go until the end of December. Camera locations are rotated based on the year and deer movements but some food plots and scrapes have been used all 10 years.

It would seem that more bucks would equal better hunting but that hasn't always been the case. 2011 was the first year we ever planted standing corn and even though 11 and 12 were great for trail camera pictures, we only harvested one 2.5 year old out of the two years. 2007 through 2010 has provided us with the best hunting while we harvested a 3.5 year old each year.

The other major item I take away from 10 years of monitoring the deer herd is that it is very, very hard to keep and hold bucks on our property. Very few have held for year after year. Some are killed by hunters but I think many of them die in the winter or go somewhere else. When I look at our doe populations over time I also would prefer to have a 3 or 4 to 1 doe:buck ratio than 1:1. The fewer does, the more nighttime action. The more does in the area pushes the bucks to move more and try to bread them, in my opinion.

A couple of reasons for some of the drastic changes over the years are:
2006 we had part of the property logged in October right before the rut. It was the only time we could get them in and it changed things for sure.
2010 the Federal trappers took 14 wolves off of the neighbor's cattle farm. No question that changed deer habits.
2011/12 - Corn.data3.png
data.png data2.png
 

Jameson

5 year old buck +
Neat stuff. Thanks for sharing. As noted previously, very impressive age structure for MN.
 

TMIL

5 year old buck +
Excellent study, thanks for posting it!
 

tooln

5 year old buck +
Thanks for sharing. Wolf trapping and graph show it all.
 

Greta&Gus

5 year old buck +
There are a number of things I am hoping we can do to improve the number of bucks in the area. I am less worried about the age structure and more concerned with the overall number. Older bucks will come and go it seems.
 
B

bat man

Guest
There are a number of things I am hoping we can do to improve the number of bucks in the area. I am less worried about the age structure and more concerned with the overall number. Older bucks will come and go it seems.

Did you sign up for the stakeholder goal setting teams. Today is the deadline.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
How many acres are you managing? For 2013 and 2014 you have had a significant decline in numbers back to 2010 and before the wolves were trapped, what is causing the decline?

Why did you stop planting corn? Do you think it caused a decline in buck sightings?
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
Corn and cover, especially with at least some conifers, usually means more bucks. I see this in zone 1 and zone 2.
 

Greta&Gus

5 year old buck +
How many acres are you managing? For 2013 and 2014 you have had a significant decline in numbers back to 2010 and before the wolves were trapped, what is causing the decline?

Why did you stop planting corn? Do you think it caused a decline in buck sightings?
We have 280 acres that is all wooded with about 14 acres in plots.

We still planted corn this year, just not in 2013 to see if it would make a difference. Once again, corn made for some great night time pictures but never any daytime sightings. After this year and how poor things were I will focus my efforts to travel routes a few hundred yards off of corn, not on the plot itself. We still have predators like wolves, yotes, and bear but I don't think that is the real problem. Too many does and yearlings were killed across the area. If you look at 11 and 12 they are almost all young bucks and very few made it to the next year.

We also don't have enough cover to hold a lot of deer, so most just pass through at night while cruising.
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
Great data and information. Thanks for posting.
 
Top