How Many Deer?
This story has the solution to counting the Pennsylvania deer herd.
The old way:
The commission’s official estimate is generated using a mathematical formula based on the number of harvest report cards received from hunters and other data, such as biologists’ visits to butcher shops that process hunter-killed deer. Even agency executives, however, acknowledge it’s difficult to know for sure just how many deer are in the woods.
The new way:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is so concerned about deer overpopulation at its Raystown Lake property that it recently spent about $10,000 to conduct an aerial deer survey of its 22,000 wooded acres.
The result? About 50 deer per square mile — or about three times as many as the commission’s goal for the Wildlife Management Unit where the lake is located.
”A lot of people think the deer aren’t on public land, but they’re there,” said Jeff Krause, an Army Corps wildlife biologist who noted that 20,000 of the 22,000 wooded acres around the lake are open to hunting.
The Raystown survey was conducted in November by Vision Air Research of Boise, Idaho. An airplane equipped with infrared cameras in the wings flew over the area at night and recorded it on videotape. Researchers were then able to review the tape and count deer because of the glow created by the animals’ body heat.
Let’s see…should we guess at the number by some imagined formula for trying to figure out how many hunters didn’t return their reporting cards, or should we actually count the number of deer by the heat signature they give off? No brainer.
The DNCR plans on using this techonology this winter. The DNCR? Why isn’t the PGC doing this? Answer: Merger time?
UPDATE: It only took the Patriot-News a week or so to pick up this story.