Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Most Common Camera-Trap Visitor Is. . .

The white-tailed deer!

Deer walking on a popular game trail in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Other animals can't even come close to showing up in numbers comparable to deer. 

I have known this fact since I started doing this, but today I crunched some numbers to get exact percentages of deer having their pictures taken by my cams.  

It took some time to organize thousands of pictures into files and folders, but the time I spent doing this offered a good break from studying for my looming final exams that I have been spending a ridiculous amount of time on in the past week.

The results below omit videos, pictures of me taken by the cameras, false camera triggers, and test pictures.

White-tailed deer hold the record for most camera-trap images taken at a staggering 52% of total images of animals.  

Raccoons can't even catch up, but hold steady in second place by appearing in 29% of my pics.

Foxes come in third place and have shown up in 12% of my pics.

All other animals shown on this blog make up for the 7% that is in my collective category of fourth place.

What makes deer have such a greater number of camera appearances is based on a whole combination of factors.  

First of all, deer are very numerous in northern Virginia, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to see them so often.  

Deer also frequently travel in pairs or small groups.  If a camera triggers where there are multiple deer (as the cameras often do), the deer appearance rate goes up significantly since I account for multiple individuals of the same species in these statistics.  Deer also travel in both day and night and aren't as camera shy as many other animals are.

Deer live alongside humans in many areas of northern Virginia.  Seeing a camera in the woods does not seem to bother deer at all, since they are so used to human-made objects anyway.

Other factors to consider when wondering why deer show up so often are:  travel patterns, food availability for deer vs. other animals, skittishness, camera placement, camera height, mating seasons of deer vs. other animals, other animals in the area, how frequently I check the cameras, and many many more.


  1. YOu have so much vegetation growing already....we have nothing like that in NY yet!

    1. Yeah it's nice to finally see the woods green again, although it comes with the consequences of mowing the lawn and a high pollen count. It's well worth it to be out of winter though.