From Steve Winchester
I was up over a few areas yesterday. First spot was Onondaga, between Geddes and Hill. I had noticed many thousands of deer tracks there in the snow, then saw four deer in a backyard bedded down. Up I went and….I couldn’t see any deer. They were under dense pines and shrubs, or elsewhere. The tracks tell quite a story though, being a life long hunter with over 40 years experience I have to say I’m shocked at the sheer amount of “sign” left by deer in the snow and the damage to vegetation I observed. If I saw these signs in my hunting woods, I’d be jumping for joy knowing I would fill my freezer fast with venison!
Second area, Off Glazier Way on Wolverhampton Ln. Again, no deer to be seen anywhere. Tracks by the tens of thousands, very heavy deer trails in almost every wooded area and lawn I flew over.
Third area, just west of the above spot, across Huron Parkway in the north end of Arborcrest Memorial Park grounds. There were deer (does) standing all around, 6 or 7 scattered about. Going up and just over the treetops I could only see some of them, they simply disappear under the pines. Again, the tracks tell the story, the place is overrun and most shrubs are decimated by browsing.
Unfortunately it appears the only accurate way to do this from drone, or aircraft, is with FLIR. Which is what I thought, as that’s how the “pro’s” do it. I will try again soon in different lighting, at a different time of day. Overcast yet not too dark, is what may work the best. Looking back at past photo’s and video’s I see subdued lighting seems to provide the best contrast for picking them out of the snow. Still, FLIR is really the only way to get actual numbers.
What may be helpful to me is, if I knew exactly where they are, where they “yard up” together. If you have information from homeowners as to where those areas may be, let me know!
I’ve attached some photos taken from the video and have arrows pointing out what deer I did see. Some of these photos show the heavy prints in the snow in yards.
Thank you for those arrows!!