Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"There Ain't No Deer"

Sometimes it seems that the most abundant critter in the autumn woods is the disgruntled deer hunter. One of my acquaintance keeps muttering “There ain’t no deer” throughout the late fall-early winter when he’s once again spent several weeks deer hunting. This fellow is a dedicated hunter who’s certainly taken his share of bucks over the years – he wouldn’t shoot a doe under any circumstances.

Like a lot of deer hunters his measure of success isn’t necessarily whether he shoots a buck but how many deer he’s seen during deer season; research done in many states shows that is true for most deer hunters. And like many deer hunters, he thinks that if he doesn’t see deer “There ain’t no deer”.

Camera traps help to reveal the actual situation regarding deer and their abundance – those cameras aren't perfect, but they see things mere humans miss. Looking at the photographs taken by the camera traps on the hill above the house, it’s obvious there are a lot more bucks out there than most of us realize.

Here are the bucks caught by those camera traps in October and November –

I also had a camera trap at our son and daughter-in-law’s place this fall. Now our son says he never sees bucks other than spike bucks at his place, but that camera trap had photos of bucks he’s never seen –

All this fall I’ve had several camera traps at Bill’s. Although Bill doesn’t hunt, another friend and his son regularly hunt on Bill’s 55 acres and keep a tree stand about 200 yards uphill from one of the camera traps. Both the camera and the stand are at the edge of a steep drop-off into a stream valley; the edge is a natural travel corridor for many species of wildlife. Neither Bill nor his hunting friend have seen any deer other than does and a spike buck. But the camera traps reveal the bucks that frequent Bill's place –

So, it seems there are bucks out there, but they aren’t being seen. And my response to “There ain’t no deer” has become “Oh no?”


The Furry Gnome said...

Brilliant! You just turned on a lightbulb in my head! I see lots of deer tracks most of the winter, but i hardly ever see the deer. (To me, it seems they 'return' every winter with the first snowfall, 'cause that's when i see their tracks). But i could put a trail cam out and see what's coming every night - great idea! Any recommendations for what sort of trail cam i should get?

Woody Meristem said...

Camera traps are a great tool and hobby -- and every time you check the card is like opening a Christmas present, you never know what you may find.

I have one commercial camera trap, an older Moultrie and I'm surprised it's still operating, the consensus among camera trappers is that most commercially made camera traps don't last too long. the best commercial units seem to be the Recoynx (which also tend to be quite expensive).

Other than that one old Moultrie, I built all my camera traps from older point-and-shoot digital cameras -- all the photos in this post were taken with those homebrewed cameras. The homebrews take good photos with a white, not infra-red flash.

There are a number of folks who make homebrews for sale (not me):;;; and more. You might check this website:

The Furry Gnome said...

Thanx so much!

eileeninmd said...

Great shots of the deer. They are all beautiful bucks. I live next to area that allows hunting and we rarley see deer. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

This is fascinating. I am not a hunter myself but I've read articles by game rangers who talk about that there are a lot more deer out and about than what people think. I also need to check into homebrew game cameras. I have several old point and shoots that work but I don't use them any longer.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Funny that they're in the backyard and front yard all the time!

Woody Meristem said...

Our place backs up on thousands of acres of public and private woodland as does our son's (which is nowhere near ours) and virtually all of those acres receive varying degrees of hunting pressure.

A Colorful World said...

Wonderful post! It's true that most hunters rarely even find a deer they can harvest. The deer are smarter than we think! :-)

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Maybe they know he's hiding out there hunting during the day, so they only come by at night. ;-)

Nice photos of them!