Say what? Am I suggesting that big-buck hunters can actually score their harvest potential bucks before they even start to hunt the deer hoping for a clean shot?

Yep, that's exactly what I am suggesting. But more importantly this computer program is another way of helping to manage deer by collecting additional critical data on the bucks photographed on your hunting property.

Serious deer hunters who are turned on by today's advanced high technology aimed at tracking your deer better and helping you to identify the quality of buck racks on your property need to read on. This technology will blow you away.

 

Maximizing trail camera photos

"OK, a lot of deer hunters still haven't discovered digital trail cameras, yet, but they are certainly in the minority," Jason Pope of Madison said. "Basically, already long gone are the older models that actually used 35mm film that had to be developed. Today it is widely accepted that trail cameras have universally gone the digital technology route. The flexibility this format allows is perfect for deer hunters."

Some of these new digital cameras are fairly simple, while others can be somewhat complicated with multiple features, including video.

The technology is constantly being upgraded including cameras that will now broadcast their "snapshot" views via wireless transmissions direct to a computer. This provides live-time viewing and recording.

"I used trail cameras for three months on a piece of new hunting property I bought to find out what kinds of deer I had roaming the place," said Pope. "I discovered the place had several pretty decent bucks coming and going in front of the camera, as well as some wild turkeys. I found trail cameras were perfect for determining what game was on my land. I have been collecting the essential information via digital pictures, but now I wanted to know just how big these bucks are, point-wise."

Now with the BuckScore system deer hunters are able to take their deer-hunting efforts to the next level. Once you secure digital photographs of bucks on your property, you can feed the images into the BuckScore program to find out how the bucks score. This is the ultimate in characterizing the bucks where you hunt.

 

The BuckScore System

"BuckScore (www.buckscore.com) is a user-friendly computer program that allows users to estimate score and age of photographed bucks," said Jeremy Flinn, one of the original Mississippi State University researchers in the Deer and Ecology and Management Lab that developed BuckScore. "Trail camera photographs are currently used to gather important herd composition data, but sampling antler size and age from photographs is limited by subjective guessing. BuckScore satisfies the demand for an accurate data collection tool for use on the live white-tailed deer.

"These researchers recognized the management and research value of a tool that uses photographs to estimate antler size with up to 95-percent accuracy and estimate age up to 80-percent accuracy.

"BuckScore is an innovative management tool with plenty of applications. It will allow collection of relatively unbiased buck-age and antler-size data from your hunting property. Camera surveys are a passive and effective way to sample a deer herd. Using BuckScore and the photographs taken during the survey, a user can collect information that will lead to more appropriate management recommendations."

Dr. Steve Demarais, Mississippi State University's Dale Arner distinguished professor of Wildlife, also worked on the development of the BuckScore computer program system.

"We are really excited to have produced software that is of such value to a wide range of users, including hunters and biologists," Demarais said. "Hunters are able to self-educate themselves on antler characteristics of bucks on their property without having to 'ground truth' them.

"It's also accurate enough to allow biologists to calculate antler scores for all photographed bucks and estimate antler characteristics of all bucks on the property, not just the ones that are harvested. We have recently licensed aging software to the company that will be combined with the antler scoring to allow age-specific antler scores to be generated. That will be a major tool for deer management. Biologists will then be able to evaluate the effectiveness of management programs of all ages of animals, again without waiting until they are harvested. Currently we can measure only those bucks that are harvested, and that does not allow us to evaluate a random sample of the population."

BuckScore is a Mississippi-engineered deer-management tool buck hunters will find highly beneficial to managing deer on their own property.

With a collection of digital trail camera photographs, hunters and deer managers can evaluate the antler size and age of every buck they photograph on their property.