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Field count

Discussion in 'Snow Goose Hunting Forum' started by joecitrano, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. joecitrano

    joecitrano Senior Refuge Member

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    maryland
    I often wonder about actual #’s that we see in a field. I say 15,000 some one else says 50,000 while looking at same group. It’s a super wild *** guess for sure.
     
  2. joecitrano

    joecitrano Senior Refuge Member

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    I know a chicken farmer that says 110’x43’ house can hold between 30-34,000 birds . That’s how a buddy of mine half *** estimates it. I say a snows bigger n not jam packed
     
  3. hunting1

    hunting1 Senior Refuge Member

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    Well, its just an estimate after all. I've often wondered how people came up with a number since there's no way to actually count them all. So I started counting birds in the air over and over. 10 is easy, 25 not so hard. Then I quadruped it to give me an even block of 100. Counted off 100 several times when it was possible. From that counted blocks of 100, 10 for a 1000. Do this every year as its got to be a habit and start having an idea what 1000 birds look like from a glance. Yeah its not very accurate but after awhile felt that I wasn't missing a flock of 3000 by more than 3-400 birds. And from there having a sort of idea of groups of 40-50 thousand but understanding that the more there are the higher the error percentage probably is. And it is further complicated by varying distances, density, and being able to group up multiple flocks in your mind. On the ground I have a set number of decoys I can compare to but with the same challenges of distance and density and a bit harder if they appear as a two dimensional line without much perspective on how deep the flock is. But..you can always stab a number on it and be pretty sure its either 500 or 5000
     
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  4. Geez n Quackers

    Geez n Quackers Senior Refuge Member

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    A lot of refuges will take an areal photo. They overlay this photo with a grid and count the birds in a grid, multiplying it by the number of grids of similar density, and adding in the grids that are not full based on the percentage that the grid is full. I think this is fairly accurate on the water where the density of the birds is more consistent.
     
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  5. joecitrano

    joecitrano Senior Refuge Member

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    And believe me I’m not knocking anyone’s guess. Hell, lord knows how inaccurate my guess actually is but I hear big #’s from folks often and wonder about the validity
     
  6. Geez n Quackers

    Geez n Quackers Senior Refuge Member

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    I know many times when I am looking at my 1,500 decoy spread from a few hundred yards away, I think it looks like a minuscule amount compared to the flock of real snows I may have been watching in the field while scouting the day before. So I started studying how large I perceived that spread of 1,000 or however many decoys and then started compounding that image when I look at live flocks.

    I remember a few years ago hunting a round bailed field in Canada, the snows were scattered across and throughout bails probably 12 bails across and 12 bails deep. We set up about 1,200 socks in the dark the next morning. After the shoot and in the light of day I realized we didn't fill the space between four of the bails if you considered them to be corners with imaginary lines between them. I estimated there were 50,000 - 60,000 birds in there when I was scouting them, but later thinking about the math pertaining to those bails; well, I just don't know.
     
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  7. hunting1

    hunting1 Senior Refuge Member

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    So G&Q do you think that most people underestimate the numbers? Some of the numbers I've come up with doing it the same way you do seem far fetched and I hesitate to sound like that's how many I actually think there are. In most cases I'm likely to shave off some of that. It's surprising how a lot can look like so few though. I asked a kid one time who had never set out a snow spread how many decoys he thought him and his brother had just helped me set out. Not going to give him much credit for his answer because of some other experiences I had with him but he sat there looking at the small spread and said 150 decoys. We had set out 40 dozen
     
  8. Wapiti@67

    Wapiti@67 Senior Refuge Member

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    RC South Dakota
    Another thing you have to keep in mind, is if you are happening to make that guestimate from a fairly level playing field, there ALWAYS seems to be more than there is, because you cannot see the spacing between birds. That is my feeble attempt at adding to this conversation...
     
  9. Geez n Quackers

    Geez n Quackers Senior Refuge Member

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    Surprisingly, I think guys that hunt snows some, or regularly, generally underestimate. Those that don't hunt and scout geese in fields some or at all seem to me to greatly overestimate in my experience. I've had many snow goose hunters over the years come hunt with me at a set spread of 1,000 - 1,500 decoys. Curious regarding this very topic, I frequently ask first time visitors; how many decoys? Almost all underestimate by a large margin. Both looking from a distance and up close. Then on the other side of the spectrum, over the years I have had many non-hunters (farmers, friends, relatives, acquaintances) that - knowing I do hunt them - will tell me of the flock they saw with 50k or 100k, and it's invariably a tenth that many.
     
  10. duck central

    duck central Senior Refuge Member

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    South Dakota
    Back in the 80"s I owned a place in ND. I got to Fly with the person that was doing the Waterfowl counts for ND. They had a formula they used. They had this hold up grid card and at certain altitudes they made the counts. I flew with them about 10-12 times and not only did it help me with estimating numbers but I learned how to set up effective decoy spreads. Now with these drones guys should be able to really pump up the game.
    One other note , Only going up 10-12 times was a game changer , I could pick out REAL birds from decoys from miles away.
     

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