One semester of data doesn’t make a trend, but a trail camera study conducted this spring by wildlife students at Bemidji State University showed an early correlation between the times when deer and predators such as wolves and coyotes were most active.
Based on the findings from six trail cameras set in the university’s 240-acre Hobson Forest from early February through mid-April, wolves and coyotes were most active about midnight and again shortly after sunrise.
Whitetails, by comparison, were most active in the middle of the day, perhaps as a survival strategy to avoid being eaten, said Jacob Haus, an assistant professor of Wildlife Biology at BSU.
“It runs counter to what we think of as the time (deer) should be out and about, but the other thing is that property is used for recreation quite a bit so there are a lot of people out there hiking,” Haus said. “So, I think it might be something where the deer are less concerned with that than the wolves and the coyotes are, so there’s this kind of gap in the middle of the day when the canids weren’t very active, and it seemed like the deer were really taking advantage of that.”
Haus, along with students Taylor Parker-Greene, a senior Wildlife Biology major from Lino Lakes, Minn., and Megan Howard, a junior Wildlife Biology major from Golden Valley, Minn., shared some highlights from the trail camera study Wednesday morning during a Zoom chat, which is the way many discussions are happening these days.