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Old 01-05-2018, 01:57 PM   #201
1337hunter
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Is the harvest log right? Just 4 bucks this year? Wow...
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:49 AM   #202
born-two-hunt
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Blackmouth, if you know for a fact how the survey is done, please elaborate. The harvest log is up to date as far a 9 Dec, it has not been updated in weeks. Tom
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:52 PM   #203
Blackmouth
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As far as demographics of the herd, every working day in August, every deer that can be positively identified is counted as buck, doe, or fawn. This was typically done at daybreak and evening before the spotlight counts. During the spotlight surveys which at a minimum included a driver and 2 observers in the back of a truck, deer were counted and identified. If 1 deer in the group wasn't identified, no deer were counted toward the demographics.

For the density, lines were created in coordination with TPWD and researchers from SWT back in the late 90's. These lines have been used ever since. There are 4 lines, each line is conducted a minimum of 3 times and usually 4 times during the month of August. Each night, the lines are driven and the observers in the back scan on each side of the truck and count every deer seen.

Traditional methods would take visibility with a laser range finder every 0.1 mile of each route and calculate acres of visibility from those measurements. In 2016, the visibilities were increased to every 100 meters to attempt to get even better representation of the visibility. This also was done since visibilities likely increased with all the brush management. Then based on that visibility, a buffer was created based on the average distance from the road that the visibilities were measured. When the surveys were conducted, a GPS point, distance and direction were taken of each group of deer. The points are then imported into GIS to show exactly where those groups of deer were observed on the landscape. If the deer were within that buffer, they are counted toward the density, if not, they weren't. By counting only the groups in the buffer, you are only counting the deer within the visibility parameters that have been measured with the range finder.

This is more intense than what TPWD does for the county lines and is the same method used year after year. Although it isn't perfect, it does provide trend data to see what the population is doing. No one knows the best method to estimate deer populations although they are probably the most studied animal in the world. The population on Bullis is strange as the numbers up north of Cowgill are much lower than the numbers down south hence the quota and changes to the hunting program this year. This peculiarity with the deer numbers is a big reason for the collared deer research on Bullis.

I can provide more information if you would like but hopefully this will provide some insight to how the surveys are done.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:27 AM   #204
5qu1n7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackmouth View Post
As far as demographics of the herd, every working day in August, every deer that can be positively identified is counted as buck, doe, or fawn. This was typically done at daybreak and evening before the spotlight counts. During the spotlight surveys which at a minimum included a driver and 2 observers in the back of a truck, deer were counted and identified. If 1 deer in the group wasn't identified, no deer were counted toward the demographics.

For the density, lines were created in coordination with TPWD and researchers from SWT back in the late 90's. These lines have been used ever since. There are 4 lines, each line is conducted a minimum of 3 times and usually 4 times during the month of August. Each night, the lines are driven and the observers in the back scan on each side of the truck and count every deer seen.

Traditional methods would take visibility with a laser range finder every 0.1 mile of each route and calculate acres of visibility from those measurements. In 2016, the visibilities were increased to every 100 meters to attempt to get even better representation of the visibility. This also was done since visibilities likely increased with all the brush management. Then based on that visibility, a buffer was created based on the average distance from the road that the visibilities were measured. When the surveys were conducted, a GPS point, distance and direction were taken of each group of deer. The points are then imported into GIS to show exactly where those groups of deer were observed on the landscape. If the deer were within that buffer, they are counted toward the density, if not, they weren't. By counting only the groups in the buffer, you are only counting the deer within the visibility parameters that have been measured with the range finder.

This is more intense than what TPWD does for the county lines and is the same method used year after year. Although it isn't perfect, it does provide trend data to see what the population is doing. No one knows the best method to estimate deer populations although they are probably the most studied animal in the world. The population on Bullis is strange as the numbers up north of Cowgill are much lower than the numbers down south hence the quota and changes to the hunting program this year. This peculiarity with the deer numbers is a big reason for the collared deer research on Bullis.

I can provide more information if you would like but hopefully this will provide some insight to how the surveys are done.
Appreciate the info...imo it wasn't necessary to have to provide it. But you did and much respect.

Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:59 AM   #205
born-two-hunt
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Blackmouth, thanks for the current Camp Bullis whitetail survey information. First let me state I am an old fart whose memory isn't as sharp as it you to be. As a bow hunter who has hunted Camp Bullis for the past 29/30 years I recall participating in some of those surveys many years ago. Volunteers were used to participate in the surveys and as I recall they were done on 3 consecutive evenings in August rain or shine. The personnel in the back of the pickup would alert the driver when a deer was spotted and the driver would have to verify Buck or Doe in order to be counted. Oh, the good old days.

I am not questioning the methods nor the data gleaned from these surveys and appreciate all the work that Natural Resources Office (NRO) puts in to allow hunting on Camp Bullis. I do however think there is a big disconnect between NRO and the hunters. The program has become more and more computerized (I Sportsman Program) which has not worked since implemented 5 years ago. I understand that NRO more or less had this program forced upon them.

From my records of Archery Whitetail Harvest at Camp Bullis

2014/15 40 Bucks 24 Does
2015/16 27 Bucks 20 Does
2016/17 27 Bucks 16 Does
2017/18 10 Bucks 29 Does

What I miss most about the Hunting Program is the interaction we used to have between the hunters/staff when game was brought in or talk about the one that was seen or got away. You got to congratulate new hunters on their first deer and so on.

I am thankful for a place to hunt and all those who make it happen. Tom
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:42 AM   #206
Blackmouth
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No problem Tom, I wasn't aiming anything at you but I didn't want anyone jumping on the bandwagon on complaining about the NRO. I agree with the disconnect and that iSportsman was sold to the NRO with a heck of a marketing ploy that never worked as anticipated. The NRO team has been bombarded with complaints and have been frustrated more times than not about its effectiveness.

I personally gave a large amount of effort and tried my best to give the best guidance and direction toward the deer herd and hunting program. My interaction with hunters usually shifted their thoughts from negative to positive when it came to quotas when I would talk with them and really explain how the system works. Many times I would get the comment of I see 10 deer at my feeder and so does Preston or Flash or you or etc. And then I would explain that the deer are drawn in by the feeders and how we count negates those numbers so it isn't biased.

I am no longer there and this was the first year I wasn't present for the surveys or checkins in 7 years. So I am not sure how it was finally done but I did get some emails for my advice on the matter and how I calculated the numbers. I do miss it and BSing with guys like you. Just give those guys a little slack because their higher ups aren't really hunters or involved with that lifestyle and they try their best to crawl through the complaints and provide a hunting experience. You may know who I am now so take care.

Chad
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:01 PM   #207
born-two-hunt
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Chad, I knew it was you when you explained the survey details. This was the first year that quotas were stated before the season began. I can only guess this was an attempt to eliminate complaints brought on in years past with some areas having a buck quota of 1 or 2 bucks. Personally it doesn't matter to me what the quota is. One question I have is what happened to the 1 buck to 2 does ratio that was the goal for Camp Bullis? I was at several meetings over the years where it was briefed that we were very close to attaining that goal in most areas. Was past surveys that far off or has the deer herd been affected by other forces in a major way in the last 5 years?

It was implied that the rifle season would not be available this year due to land clearing/unsafe stands and safety issues. Was this really the issue or lack of deer in those areas. Maybe it was a combination of those things. I know you don't have all the answers and really liked talking to you when you were there. Best of luck to you and take the little ones hunting. Tom.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:22 PM   #208
Blackmouth
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The ratio is right at 1:2 throughout and yes to the best of my knowledge, a lot of the rifle stand locations were dangerously close if additional clearing was taking place.

However, the fawn crop as always is extremely low and boggles my mind and with a density of 1 deer to 40+ acres up north may be a step to try to hold off on harvest and hope to get a small rebound on the population. What is confusing is that the doe quotas were never hit however, my advice for the past several years was to not hunt up north because of such a low population but then you get into the double edged sword of complaints of no hunting opportunity versus building a herd up. If the fawn crop could be even somewhat acceptable, the hunting opportunities would definitely increase.

As I always said, I think water is huge. Could be coyotes but water would be my biggest priority.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:49 PM   #209
Jimbo47
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I'll throw my 2 cts. into the mix, but I'd lean toward there being a coyote problem on Bullis.
If you ever sit and listen to all the ruckus they raise just before sunset and even some mornings there is a lot of coyotes.
I've seen them driving to and from my area in broad daylight.
The only predator they have is man, and with Bullis being surrounded by development Bullis is a haven for those displaced by the development.
Getting a handle on the coyote problem will help improve the fawn crop, no doubt about it.
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Old 01-13-2018, 12:58 PM   #210
Blackmouth
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We saw most on the ranges and definitely from the NR office but know they’re everywhere which is why they are included on the available to harvest list but I think a set predator hunt may be a logistical and/or safety issue. Depends on general hunting areas for predator control with limited distance weapons which makes it harder.
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