Whitetail &

Mule Deer Surveys

Deer Survey:

The objective of an aerial survey is to gather broad based data to aid in resource allocation. In regards to Whitetail Deer Surveys, the pertinent information includes gross population, number of animals per acre, age structure, sex ratio (buck to doe) and number of fawns per doe (fawn crop). All practical and visible data is gathered and recorded.

In addition to the deer, the number of predators, feral hogs, exotic animals, quail coveys and general vegetation condition are noted. The data will allow the ranch to make more informed and economical decisions.

Ex:  A ranch with a high buck to doe ratio, poor fawn crop and a sprawling predator population may find it more economical to abate their costly supplemental feeding program and allocate their resources toward harvesting the number of does to meet a more practical 1:2 sex ratio and actively reducing the numbers of predators, improving their fawn crop.

Deer Surveys in the Cross Timbers & Other “Thick” Areas:

Despite the fact census reports (for ranches on MLDP) are due by the last week of September to start hunting the first week of October, it is nowhere engraved in stone that the aerial census must be completed during the months of August and September. It has been my experience; surveys completed during these months in heavily covered terrain are poor representations at best.

It is far more effective to wait until winter, after the leaves have fallen, to attempt a “100% count”. The winter survey can then be forwarded into the year. If it is impractical and too difficult to determine yearlings from fawns, a herd composition survey (a small sampling using either a spotlight or aerial) can be performed in the fall to determine the fawn crop.

Another problem encountered with winter surveys has been early shedding. Over the past couple of years in the Cross Timbers, we have been seeing bucks shedding their horns as early as late December.

It is advisable to consult with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist in your area. They will be the most aware of the conditions in your area.


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Breckenridge, TX
Serving the Cross Timbers, Lubbock, Panhandle and surrounding areas.