Buck numbers year to year

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Anecdotally, I've had a few cameras in the same spots year after year because they are great travel corridors for deer. I had one camera that would take normal IR type images at night and then pretty decent daylight photos. I had photos of the same wildlife as on all of the other cameras in the area. As soon as I put it onto video mode, I had certain bucks freaking out at the camera. I also noticed that coyotes and bobcats immediately started noticing the camera and changing their behavior. I am not sure if the camera is making a high frequency sound when recording the audio and video or if it is something else. It happens during the IR flash at night and during the day, but it is definitely different in video mode. I eventually moved the camera to an elevated position (about 7-8 feet up in a tree) and that seemed to help. The first couple of days after moving the camera though, I would have bobcats and coyotes move into the detection zone and look right up at the camera, even during the daytime.
VIdeo mode is related to Duration factor that I described above.
 

Fair oak

5 year old buck +
I’ve also noticed more camera avoidance when they are set to video. Some of my cameras are 7-8’ up aimed down slightly because that’s my best way I’ve found to monitor food plots. Those cameras seem ok, although I believe they miss more because the detection zone shrinks. My cameras that are on trails I started running knee height and have had decent luck with it also. It’s the cameras set waist high that seem to get me. I’m always experimenting and that’s part of the fun too.

On a different note, I’m already working on plans to turn 1 or possibly even 2 food plots back into more native bedding areas. I need to stay out of the center of my property! 1 of the 1 acre plots (100’x400’ approximately) that I created cuts from northeast to southwest and the southwest end comes close to the center of my property. My property is heavy clay and almost completely flat but that food plot was carved out on top of a very subtle ridge which is surrounded by lower, wetter ground with tagalder, willow, and ROD thickets. It will make a perfect spot for switchgrass and conifer plantings and I will try and get some ROD transplanted into the pockets on top of the ridge. When I say ridge, I’m talking elevation changes of only maybe 6-8’. The ridge stays dry and that’s why I chose it for a food plot spot, Possibly doing more harm than good. I could hire a habitat consultant to design a layout for me and I’ve considered it but what’s the fun in that?
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I’ve also noticed more camera avoidance when they are set to video. Some of my cameras are 7-8’ up aimed down slightly because that’s my best way I’ve found to monitor food plots. Those cameras seem ok, although I believe they miss more because the detection zone shrinks. My cameras that are on trails I started running knee height and have had decent luck with it also. It’s the cameras set waist high that seem to get me. I’m always experimenting and that’s part of the fun too.

On a different note, I’m already working on plans to turn 1 or possibly even 2 food plots back into more native bedding areas. I need to stay out of the center of my property! 1 of the 1 acre plots (100’x400’ approximately) that I created cuts from northeast to southwest and the southwest end comes close to the center of my property. My property is heavy clay and almost completely flat but that food plot was carved out on top of a very subtle ridge which is surrounded by lower, wetter ground with tagalder, willow, and ROD thickets. It will make a perfect spot for switchgrass and conifer plantings and I will try and get some ROD transplanted into the pockets on top of the ridge. When I say ridge, I’m talking elevation changes of only maybe 6-8’. The ridge stays dry and that’s why I chose it for a food plot spot, Possibly doing more harm than good. I could hire a habitat consultant to design a layout for me and I’ve considered it but what’s the fun in that?
Actually some of the cheap cameras have short wide detection zones. This lets them get away with slower trigger times. I find they actually work better than the high end cameras for setting high and angling downward. You end up reducing the detection zone much more on a fast trigger time camera that has a long narrow detection zone than on the cheaper cams.

I have converted some of my small food plots to what I call "wildlife openings". I started them with a perennial clover base. I then planted soft and hard mast trees (persimmons, chestnuts , crabs, etc). I don't do any maintenance on my trees. Plant, protect, and they are on their own. Over time, you get the normal progression of weeds in the clover. Eventually, I just let everything go and the field grows up. Just as woody growth is getting almost too big for my bushhog to handle, I go bushhog it. I then let it go for years until woody plants get almost too big for the bushhog and repeat. Weeds provide a lot of native foods, plus you have the mast. There is very infrequent access, just the bushhogging every few years. I try to stagger these so only a couple are bushhogged in any given year.

The mast trees are planted far enough apart that there will never be a canopy as long as I bushhog every few years. That is why I refer to them as a "wildlife opening". In the early establishment years there was significant human intrusion, but eventually there is very little.

Thanks,

Jack
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Interesting on the video deal but it seems like it’s not just the duration of flash in @Hoytvectrix ‘s case.

I have 10 RidgeTec cell cams (considered “no glow”) and I run them almost exclusively on video because it uses about the same amount of data and provides better info IMO watching how deer behave and where they are coming from and going to. That said I would say it seemed like I had more deer stare at my browning dark ops cams in pic mode than I did the RidgeTec in vid! I will say the filter click noise on those brownings does seem pretty bad in cold weather.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Interesting on the video deal but it seems like it’s not just the duration of flash in @Hoytvectrix ‘s case.

I have 10 RidgeTec cell cams (considered “no glow”) and I run them almost exclusively on video because it uses about the same amount of data and provides better info IMO watching how deer behave and where they are coming from and going to. That said I would say it seemed like I had more deer stare at my browning dark ops cams in pic mode than I did the RidgeTec in vid! I will say the filter click noise on those brownings does seem pretty bad in cold weather.

That is the point I was making about those marketing terms. Not all are equal in terms of deer being able to detect them. There is also a difference between camera avoidance and staring at the camera. It can appear that deer are staring at a camera when they are not or they can be staring for other reasons like smell or filter click. In some environments where human presence is a common smell for bucks, human smell may not cause bucks to avoid cameras. They can tell if the human is currently present or was present hours ago based on the scent. I have a lot of experience with deer in the suburbs where people, dogs, and every other human activity are daily occurrences. In this situation, because firearm use is limited or completely absent, age class in not skewed by hunting (human selection). Deer are amazing creatures and adapt to the situation. When I was doing some camera testing years ago, I had multiple cameras set up at different angles, just experimenting and playing around. I found that some younger deer would get curious about the camera and would walk up to it at night . To them, it is just an object with no front an back. With the multiple cameras I was able to see that sometimes when a deer is apparently staring at a camera, it is actually looking at another deer behind the camera.

Deer can be quite different is different situations. We can generalize about behavior, but we are only talking about the middle of the bell shaped curve.

You've made good observations.

Thanks,

Jack
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
I've noticed that the reflection of surrounding objects matters a lot with the IR flash cameras. I have one on the side of my camp and the deer routinely notice it at night. I imagine it has to be the light reflecting off the building. I've also seen it happen if there is a tree or branches near the front of the camera.
 

Greta&Gus

5 year old buck +
As for buck numbers, I have been running trail cameras since 2005 and have seen our numbers fluctuate from as low as 13 to as high as 25 for our 280 acres (in MN).

There have been years that we only see a single 3 year old and other years we have multiple 4 year olds. There are a lot of factors outside of our control for the deer numbers but the total number of bucks has not been a driving reason for success (or lack there of).

Bucks are extremely transient and you can always pull new ones in.
 

Fair oak

5 year old buck +
Actually some of the cheap cameras have short wide detection zones. This lets them get away with slower trigger times. I find they actually work better than the high end cameras for setting high and angling downward. You end up reducing the detection zone much more on a fast trigger time camera that has a long narrow detection zone than on the cheaper cams.

I have converted some of my small food plots to what I call "wildlife openings". I started them with a perennial clover base. I then planted soft and hard mast trees (persimmons, chestnuts , crabs, etc). I don't do any maintenance on my trees. Plant, protect, and they are on their own. Over time, you get the normal progression of weeds in the clover. Eventually, I just let everything go and the field grows up. Just as woody growth is getting almost too big for my bushhog to handle, I go bushhog it. I then let it go for years until woody plants get almost too big for the bushhog and repeat. Weeds provide a lot of native foods, plus you have the mast. There is very infrequent access, just the bushhogging every few years. I try to stagger these so only a couple are bushhogged in any given year.

The mast trees are planted far enough apart that there will never be a canopy as long as I bushhog every few years. That is why I refer to them as a "wildlife opening". In the early establishment years there was significant human intrusion, but eventually there is very little.

Thanks,

Jack
On average, how big are your wildlife openings? I’m still pondering what to do with the 1 acre food plot near the center of my property. Actually I’m struggling with the entire layout. Nothing flows and it’s just a chaotic mess. I think I will try and write down my property details, everything I have done as far as habitat work, etc. and start a land tour post and see if I can figure things out with the help of the experienced guys on this site.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
On average, how big are your wildlife openings? I’m still pondering what to do with the 1 acre food plot near the center of my property. Actually I’m struggling with the entire layout. Nothing flows and it’s just a chaotic mess. I think I will try and write down my property details, everything I have done as far as habitat work, etc. and start a land tour post and see if I can figure things out with the help of the experienced guys on this site.
Mine are small, I'd say they probably average 1/4 - 1/3 acre. We have a pipeline that bisects the property. It is about 60 yards wide and ungulates over rolling terrain. We plant the flat spots for our feeding plots and try to make them feel smaller by planting cover strips at the ends of each of these. When we did a pine thinning, I marked some small sections along the pipeline and had them clear-cut and the stumps removed. Because the adjoin the open pipeline, they get enough sun for fruit trees. These have become our wildlife openings. We do have others scattered through the property. Most are converted logging decks from timbering and pretty small.

We started with a plan that includes our staggered timbering, controlled burns, food plots, wildlife openings, and such. We have been at it for about 15 years. It takes time for things to come together.

Thanks,

Jack
 
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