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#284139 - 06/30/07 10:39 PM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: deerchaser007]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19298
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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Deerchaser007,

I think you are under-crediting your personal contributions.
It matters not whether you are making those personal decisions on 85 acres or 8,500 acres ---- what you do as an individual is the same actions. In fact, your individual contributions may be of greater value on 85 acres than those same actions might be on a larger tract.

All changes start with the decision and actions of one person, who leads others into seeing the benefits.

 Originally Posted By: deerchaser007
I know i only have 85 acres and that i am not accomplishing a great deal ,.. but i enjoy doing it. AND,.. hopefully as i keep going, i will encourage others in my area to do the same,.. in turn ,. over time,.. as a whole,.. many hunters and myself will benefit from the work we have done and keep the wildlife and the hunting tradition going strong into the future.

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#284348 - 07/01/07 09:44 AM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: BigGameGuy]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65411
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BigGameGuy
 Originally Posted By: BSK
If this is the case, what should be used as a measure of success on smaller properties?


If at the end of the year you say to yourself, "Man that was a good year," your QDM program was 100% success.

(Not the scientific answer you want to hear Bryan but it may be the most applicable.)


Actually, that's exactly the answer I'm looking for. The only difference I would want is a numerical way of measuring this.

I honestly believe simply "impression" of the hunting experience is critical. Was the season good or bad? Did you see/experience things you probably never would have under your previous form of management?

But when it comes to numerical measurement, I think we will have to take a second look at observation data (and some harvest data). In the recent past, observation data has kind of fallen out of "biological" favor, since it's been found that observation data often does not track herd density and composition numbers generated by more accurate methods (with the exception of fawn recruitment numbers). However, what observation data does track accurately is "results per unit effort," such as deer/bucks/shooter bucks observed per hunting hour (or per hunt). For "meat-pole" results, harvests per unit effort (does/bucks harvested per hunting hour or per hunt) is useful data.

Basically, are you seeing measureable improvements in what you want? Are you seeing more shooter bucks per unit effort? Are you shooting more bucks per unit effort? Are you seeing and/or harvesting more total deer per unit effort? These may be the critical factors for tracking success on small properties.

I would also throw in, "What are you photographing on the property with trail cams?" I keep very close track of the number of unique bucks photographed using my property from late summer through mid-winter (August through January). I estimate each photographed bucks age. I also keep track of which bucks were "harvestable" and which were not (a harvestable buck is a buck that is photographed repeatedly on the property during the hunting season). I can then track the age structure of harvestable bucks from year to year. I think this is extremely valuable information. I may have had absolutely nothing to do with "growing" most of the these bucks, but the fact that our habitat work may be influencing these bucks to use our property during the hunting season is a critical aspect to small-land success.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#284353 - 07/01/07 09:47 AM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: BSK]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65411
Loc: Nashville, TN

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Great post deerchaser007.

Can we "control" deer herds on small acreages? No. But I'm becoming a stronger believer that we can infuence their decisions of where they spend most of their time. I've seen too many cases of dramatic differences in management results once specific habitat alterations are made on smaller properties.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#284358 - 07/01/07 09:49 AM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19298
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: BigGameGuy
 Originally Posted By: BSK
If this is the case, what should be used as a measure of success on smaller properties?

If at the end of the year you say to yourself, "Man that was a good year," your QDM program was 100% success.

Actually, that's exactly the answer I'm looking for. The only difference I would want is a numerical way of measuring this.

I honestly believe simply "impression" of the hunting experience is critical. Was the season good or bad? Did you see/experience things you probably never would have under your previous form of management?

IMO, the trail cam has become the best way of numerically measuring the success of practicing QDM on small properties.

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#284404 - 07/01/07 10:21 AM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: Wes Parrish]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65411
Loc: Nashville, TN

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 Originally Posted By: WesParrish
 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: BigGameGuy
 Originally Posted By: BSK
If this is the case, what should be used as a measure of success on smaller properties?


If at the end of the year you say to yourself, "Man that was a good year," your QDM program was 100% success.


Actually, that's exactly the answer I'm looking for. The only difference I would want is a numerical way of measuring this.

I honestly believe simply "impression" of the hunting experience is critical. Was the season good or bad? Did you see/experience things you probably never would have under your previous form of management?

IMO, the trail cam has become the best way of numerically measuring the success of practicing QDM on small properties.


And to measure your hunting "skills" it can be very interesting to look at what percent of the photographed, harvestable bucks you and other hunters see while hunting. I track these numbers very closely.

We must be doing something right because we regularly see 50% or more of the photographed, harvestable 3 1/2+ year-old bucks.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#284453 - 07/01/07 10:52 AM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: BSK]
JWW4
8 Point


Registered: 06/09/07
Posts: 2091
Loc: Signal Mtn, TN

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I don't like the term QDM. I feel it is too limiting.

My father-in-law owns 40+/- acers and this year let me put in a small food plot and do some minor develpoment. There are deer that pass through the property, but I don't think the term "herd density" could even apply. I put it in hoping to increase the number of deer that move through the area to increase my chances come fall. Since working the area I like the term habitat management or improvement much better. The number of deer moving through the area has not improved greatly if at all, but I have noticed other things. A lot more squirls, and healthier looking. I have seen other animals (turkey)in the area that I (or my father-in-law) have never seen. Turtles and frogs are moving in to eat the bugs that are eating the plots crops. Hopfully the snakes will not follow. Now why does all this matter? No one is impressed by a box turtle or a frog unless your a 4 year old who has never seen one before. I use to be annoyed by the squirls and crows that ate the corn I put out until I saw the look on my sons face when a crow with 5 foot wing span took off as we approached the field. Now I understand why it is called QDM and I want bigger and better deer come fall, and I am not on a mission to change anything, but consider what I have done from the end of last hunting season till now to already be a success.
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#284485 - 07/01/07 11:20 AM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: JWW4]
Radar
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Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 31209
Loc: Kansas City, Mo.

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I don't think I can put a big enough dent in the doe population on the small 175 acre tract I hunt , but I have seen a noticable improvement in the buck age structure since I have been letting 1 1/2 year old bucks walk .
It has shown up in my trail cam results and harvest results .
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#284539 - 07/01/07 12:08 PM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: Radar]
Mike Belt
TnDeer Old Timer
16 Point


Registered: 03/26/99
Posts: 17881
Loc: Lakeland, Tn.

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On the surface it would seem that QDM minded efforts would benefit "all" deer irregardless of whether they are permanant residents of your property or not. The female segment of the herd doesn't disperse near as much as the male segment thus they may be the primary benefactors. Those resident/semi-resident does are often in better shape than those on surrounding properties not being "managed". This is turn dictates fawns that are probably better "started" than those on those surrounding properties. Those buck fawns that eventually disperse do so with a jump start on the first 1-1.5 years of their life. The influx of dispersing bucks from surrounding properties benefit as well. Those that seasonalably shift onto managed properties through the summer benefit from the typical spring planted food plots. To a greater degree those shifting onto a managed property through the fall/winter months benefit from the more typical fall planted food plots; especially beneficial through the leaner winter months. For whatever reasons, a buck surviving several hunting seasons that has chosen your managed property as a fall/winter haven will generally return yearly provided things remain equal on that property.
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#284585 - 07/01/07 12:46 PM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: Mike Belt]
BigGameGuy
TWRA Biologist
12 Point


Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 6612
Loc: Nashville

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Bryan -

You up for an open "theoretical" discussion on small property management? If so, give me your thoughts on this and let me know what you think. I think it’s the heart of your quandary.

Take two 500 acres properties, one is a well-managed QDM-type property that passes up 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 year old bucks and also has a well thought out habitat management plan that provides ample food and cover on a year-round basis. We’ll call this “Property A” The other property is the “if it’s brown it’s down” type of management with no habitat improvements what-so-ever. This will be “Property B”. Doe harvest is relatively equal between the two properties considering the first property focuses their harvest on does while the second property shoots everything that walks. Assume these two properties are adjacent.

I think we’ll both agree that Property A is going to reflect healthier biological measurements on a year-round basis than Property B (i.e. reproductive rates, fawn survival, weight, antler characteristics, etc.). Property A will also have a much more natural and greater buck density than B since the younger age-classes are protected throughout the hunting season. Property A can be considered a source property since it is a factory for producing older-aged class bucks while property B is considered the sink where all bucks tend to get harvested. Overall, A is much better producer of quality deer than B.

The irony comes when hunting season rolls around.

Buck dispersal is a well-documented process. Bucks often change their home-range with the onset of breeding season triggered by hormonal changes. When the time comes, where will the majority of bucks go to find and compete for does, an area that has an already high density of older bucks or one that is lacking buck competition and also has a high density of available does? I suspect deer respond similarly to most natural processes and take the path of least resistance. Therefore, someone that practices all the proper QDM-type practices may not see, or be able to measure, the gains they have made since their “target” animal is seeking other grounds at the time of harvest. This is true if data collection consists primarily of data collected from harvested deer. This is why pre- and post-season trail-camera data collection is a must for QDM managers.

I personally believe if you are maintaining the number of older-aged class bucks (even though they may be different bucks from your pre-season scouting) or seeing an increased number of older bucks on your property come hunting season, it is not only a reflection of your improved management style but also a refection on the improved quality of the overall herd (i.e. the adjacent properties aren’t over-harvesting their younger bucks either). If you see a decrease in the number of older-aged class bucks from pre-season to mid-season, odds are your property is the source and the surrounding properties are the sinks. In the past three years of reading this forum, I can’t recall anyone saying their sightings of older-aged class bucks has decreased during the hunting season since they began practicing QDM. This defeats the “I can’t practice QDM because my neighbors shoot everything that walks” argument.

Does this make any sense at all?
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If given the choice between education and regulation, I'll choose education every time.

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#284611 - 07/01/07 01:24 PM Re: Measures of QDM "success" [Re: Radar]
David J
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/10/99
Posts: 30014
Loc: Harrison,Tn USA

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A Small property owner cannot affect the makeup of the deer population in an area. How can you numerically quantify something where there is no way to derive a base line. Scientifically it can't be done on a free ranging herd.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't keep records of all the deer you harvest or sightings. Those records can be very helpful years down the road.

While it is very true that a deer can't grow if it is in the back of the truck the very fact that you pass up shooting it does not mean it will be any where near your place come next fall. Most yearlings won't stop traveling until late December. So the deer you pass up are going to be a couple of miles down the road come next hunting season. Your only hope of have 2 1/2 year old deer next fall is if your neighbors pass up a few and they decide to stick around your place. According to Dr. Gary Ault you need around 10,000 acres to "really practice" QDM. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 1/2 sq. miles.

So the real question and the answer to BSK's original question is what and how do you make your place that stopping point for a young buck? The answer lies in habitat management more than any other factor and I am not talking about food plots. They are not really habitat management as much as hunter satisfaction management. The most interesting thing is that most of you died in the wool QDM people are not going to make your place an attractive site for a buck to live in.

The first criteria is that it has to be ugly and it has to be thick. It really needs to be a place that you don't want to hunt in. According to the radio collar studies by Penn DNR it needs to have some type of natural boundary. A road, creek, open pasture all seem to create a boundary where a buck will set up house. If the area has other bucks in the area or if there is a dominant buck in the area seems to be a drawing card for a young buck according to their studies. Most likely that is because of the habitat more than anything else.

Once you have your habitat in place and your divorce is final (because your place looks like a weed factory and the wife couldn't stand looking at the uncut grass) you can then start looking at a way of developing a numerical system to gauge your success. I would throw preseason buck/doe ratios out the window because they are useless. Nice information but useless nonetheless. From the thermal imaging studies I have seen so far the buck doe ration in most counties is going to be around 1:1 and in the worst counties 1:2 would be on the high side. If I were to measure "QDM" success it would be the number of hold over bucks left in January plus the number of harvested bucks thought the season. These numbers tracked from season to season would give you a real set of numbers which show how successful you have been.

But again we are talking Habitat management not really QDM.
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