I was reviewing some stats from our club in HuntLog recently and noticed a surprising (yet exciting) trend. As you may know, HuntLog tracks a metric called “Average Deer Seen Per Hunt.” This description is tricky, because it is not the ratio of total deer observed divided by the total number of hunts. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with a better brief description for this stat that states what it reports. In reality, this measures the average number of deer seen on a hunt ON HUNTS IN WHICH AT LEAST ONE DEER WAS OBSERVED.
This number, which is directly related to the overall deer population, doesn’t give you much information until it is compared to other seasons. However, it has taught me a lot about our deer herd, and recently revealed an exciting trend.
The “Average Deer Seen Per Hunt” on our club in the years 2016-2018 were 2.1, 2.1, and 1.8. These average to 2.0, and if this wasn’t measured to the tenth, it would all look the same. Seeing this consistency gave me confidence that this number was not an anomaly and that it was an accurate reflection of our population.
This year, however, the average has jumped to 3.2, which is a 60% increase. This number, which is best used to identify trends in overall deer population, could indicate a 60% increase in our deer numbers!
One might ask…Why the sudden change? While a number of factors could be contributing to this, my suspicion is that the increase in sightings/numbers could be closely related to the patchwork clearcut work that we did on the property back in 2016 followed by the site-prep spray and burn in early 2017 in those clear cut areas.
With the site prep and burn in early 2017, the clear cut areas were pretty barren during the rest of that year. In spring/summer of 2018, the additional cover was taking shape, and by spring/summer 2019, it was perfect for fawn cover and rearing. With the numbers we’re currently seeing for our “Average Deer Seen Per Hunt,” this data is telling me that it has taken our deer population 2-3 years to respond to a sudden increase in food and cover.