Can Trail Cams Collect Data For DNRs?

Paul W. from Iowa writes with an idea. "Trail cameras are becoming a common tool for many hunters before and during the hunting season. All of my hunting buddies have one or several cameras in their hunting woods. Game departments enlist hunters to help with mast surveys, sampling turkeys (by asking hunters to send in the wings), predator counts (bowhunters report sightings of coyotes, etc.), etc. Why can’t the game departments enlist hunters with cameras to collect and report data on buck sizes or buck-to-doe ratios out there before buck season?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Actually, I believe that within a few years we will see some game agencies doing just that, because so many hunters have cameras out there. In fact, Missouri ran a test to see if hunters could determine sex and age of deer from photos. They set up a website and posted photos taken of deer on trail cameras. Then they asked hunters to age and sex the deer. The results showed that there was the potential to get data from hunters via trail cameras, but more education of hunters is needed on aging and sexing live deer on the photos. 

For a fine selection of Trail Cameras, click here.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for over 31 years.

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.