Overlapping Not Concern for Deer Counting

Hello All
Like to get some advice or opinions on project. Helpful if anyone has done this before.

I was asked to fly my thermal on a deer farm to get a deer count. I plan to use DD for the grid.

The area is fenced in so it’s strictly deer. No cows, horses or pigs.

It’s total roughly 2000 acres but I’m only looking at catching about 200 acres.

I’ll be using an Inspire 1 with XT camera.

Tree line is about 55-60 feet high.

Battery consumption is an obvious concern. I’m thinking flying about 150 feet and I should see the deer.

Anyone have experience with deer counting?

I am thinking, if I am not making an orthomosaic then I wouldn’t need the high front and side overlaps. Am I right on this thinking?

With Drone deploy I can go lower than 30-30 front and side overlaps. Which I would think is ok.
To count the deer, I am thinking I would have to go to each frame and see. I dont plan to make a map, and count from there.

Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions on this?

Thanks in advance

Thoughts immediately go back to school and that one wildlife management class I had to take. Thanks for bringing up some good old memories.

If you’re going to be examining these frame by frame (blessings on you), 30% overlap is going to kill your statistical assumptions. You’d be alright on the front and back overlap, but you’d have no way of knowing on the side overlap if you’re seeing the same deer twice or not. Too much time will have passed.

Unless there’s a reason you need to sample only that specific 200 acres, I’m thinking you’ll be happier taking smaller samples across a larger area, using that drone’s speed to outpace any reasonable deer movement, and get images far enough apart that you can be fairly certain you’re not double-sampling. I suggest checking out the “Crop Report” template for your flight plan and using terrain following to keep your image area as close to constant as possible. You’ll need to be real confident about that max treeline, however.

If that won’t work for you, then my other suggestion is to do something like what we in forestry call “strip cruise” (sounds wild, doesn’t it?). For you, that would be breaking the 2,000 acres into narrow bands and imaging those. Narrow enough to avoid any side overlap and spaced far enough apart to again be fairly confident your deer are not moving across samples. Use your normal “Maps & Models” template, keep default overlap, set height to 150 as you wish, make several long map plans spaced out and narrow enough to only have one flight path down the middle of each, and then string them together in the field using mission queuing and let her rip. After processing, you can count the herd in each strip, get the precise area of each sample from the processing report, and work up your stats. Actually, as I’m writing this, I like it better than the crop report plan. Again, assuming there isn’t a reason you need a 100% survey of that specific 200 acres.