Friday, September 14th, 2012
QPAS 2012 (181) <—- Click to open
Friday, September 14th, 2012
QPAS 2012 (181) <—- Click to open
Friday, August 24th, 2012
Australian Hunter Survey (232) <—- Click to read
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Big Red - the mature Red Deer Stag - Where do they go ? (270) <—- Click to read
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Maud the red deer hind - Movement and calving area (188) <—- Click to read
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Movements of Dusty the young red deer stag ii (228) <—- Click to read
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Movements of \"Dusty\" a young red deer stag (224) <—- Click to read
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Thursday, December 8th, 2011
Greg Baxter (UQ), Graham Hall, Bob Englebright (UQ), Tony Pople (BQ), Mark Weaver (DERM), Mark Ready (TRC), Matt Godson, Damian Ferguson, Dean Menzies, Craig Rosenthal
Neal Finch (DERM), Peter Murray (UQ), Glen Harry (UQ), Neville Heslop (TRC), Geoff Jones (SSAA Qld), Les Kowitz (ADA Qld), Peter Luhrs (ADA Qld), Kurt Watter (UQ), Mike Brennan (DEEDI), Matthew Amos (UQ), Simon Chinook, Don Baxter, Keith Staines, Jim O’Meara, Jacinta Hodnett (UQ), Carla Meurk (UQ), Warren Venaglia (DERM), Norm Gibson, Warren McKay
The meeting opened at 14:10 and closed at 18:26.
Minutes of previous meeting:
There was a very brief mention of the minutes of the previous meeting – it was basically an update of the Project to a small group of stakeholders.
The meeting progressed with a series of presentations by the following people:
Jacinta Hodnett discussed the progress of her PhD which is focussing on (1) the impacts of deer on vegetation – using the sets of exclosures; (2) the browse impact/index set of plants (narrow leaf iron bark; lantana; prickly pear) using 10 groups of three trees of the same species (the first of these trees was videoed at night to establish the 3 dimensional image then this tree was cut at ground level, its foliage and lignified parts separated, weighed then dried to determine dry weight to establish the relationship between the image and the actual biomass of the tree; the second tree was videoed at night to establish its 3 dimensional image then this tree was fenced to stop any mammalian browsing – it will be used to record unbrowsed growth; and the third tree was videoed at night to establish its 3 dimensional image, identified with a numbered post and left unfenced to allow normal browsing to occur; (3) seed (weed) germination trials looking at what plant species are found in deer and macropod faeces; and (4) damage to trees by stags rubbing them.
Simon Chinook gave a presentation on the findings of his research using cameras to determine population estimates for his Honours thesis. This identified a number of strengths (e.g. time effective, identify individual stags) and weaknesses (e.g. requires stags to have antlers) of the technique. Simon was congratulated for being awarded a First Class Honours.
Matt Amos briefly discussed the different techniques (e.g. soil plots, faecal counts, spotlight counts, line transects) he is using to estimate the population size of the deer, then he focussed on the data taken from the five GPS collars recovered from deer collared earlier in the project. The audience were shown the location of the five deer every 90 minutes – for several animals for over a year. From this data it is possible to determine home ranges and ‘hot spots’ where the deer spend time sleeping and feeding, and this might make recovery of faeces easier (for seed germination trials) and also indicate different aspects of the landscape attractive (and unattractive) to the deer.
At 3:15 the meeting had an ice-cream cake and tea/coffee break for 45 minutes.
Carla Meurk gave a very interesting talk about her PhD research where she did a sociological study of feral pig management in north Queensland focussing not on management rather on the interactions between Government and scientists involved in feral pig management (policy and research) and property owners and hunters (who actually manage them). For those interested in reading more Carla indicated she would get a link to her thesis put onto the Deer Research website, it is also available on the UQ website.
Neal Finch then discussed the status of the Australia Hunter Survey (about 5,000 completed on-line surveys) and showed the audience a copy of the summary statistics for each question. This provoked a lot of discussion not just about the data but also about how to increase the number of completed surveys. Suggestions from the Stakeholders on how to increase the number of responses included: send another email to Stakeholder media contacts to get them to publish a reminder, send a(nother) email to all hunting and fishing organisations asking them to remind their members to complete the survey as it is in their interest to do so; contact Landline about doing a segment on the project including the Hunter survey; talk to the staff in the IACRC about putting a request in their e-newsletter and a link on their website; contact other relevant organisations about including information about the Hunter survey (e.g. Councils and National Parks); use Facebook and YouTube to advertise the Hunter survey; and approach the owners and suppliers of hunting and fishing shops (e.g. John Fuller, Josh Raymond, Rob Nio) about putting up a poster about doing the Hunter Survey in their shops (with a card available giving the website). Anyone reading this should have done, please!, the Survey = www.surveymonkey.com/s/aushuntersurvey
Neal then talked about non-response bias and the need to do ‘face-to-face’ surveys to validate the on-line data. The Hunting and Outdoor Expo in Bendigo (4th and 5th February 2012) with possibly over 10,000 visitors is an ideal time and place to do this and Mike Brennan, Carla Meurk and Nev Heslop indicated they were interested in participating – firstly we need to determine if we have finances available to send and accommodate people in Bendigo.
After the presentations the various representatives of the Stakeholders organisations were given the opportunity to talk to the meeting. Geoff Jones from SSAA raised the question about the possibility of the Project continuing for longer than originally planned; Peter Luhrs reiterated this with the request that more effort should be made to inform members of Stakeholders organisations about the Hunter survey and progress in the Project; Mike Brennan indicated the same and suggested a 5 minute presentation of the major points for the presentations be given to an internal Biosecurity Queensland Deer Research meeting planned in February-March; Nev Heslop confirmed that TRC was still supportive of the Project with continued access to the two dams, some staff involvement, and the house as per the current arrangement except that the ‘Deer mobile’ had been reallocated to another section within TRC at the agreed end of the Project (August 2012). In light of this it was decided a delegation of Stakeholders go to TRC and talk to Councillors about progress to date (again using material from the various presentations) to reassure TRC that they are getting value from the Project and to see about alternative vehicle arrangements to continue the Project after August 2012. It was also suggested that some of the key points delivered in the presentations be put into a DVD or flyer to promote the Project.
The question of the continuation of the Project was raised again in the General Business and the consensus was that there was some excellent data now becoming available with the opportunity for much more and that every effort be made to ensure the Project continues well past its 3 year original timeframe.
Matt Amos made the point that he plans to resume on-site research mid to late February, and Jacinta Hodnett still needs to do at least two more days and nights of work, before Christmas, to complete the initial measurement and setup of the browse index plant sampling.
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
Wild Deer Management in Australia
31st August 2011
UQ Gatton Room 8150-131
Present: Dr Greg Baxter School of GPEM; Mitchell Chen (Research Masters student); Matt Amos (PhD student); Neal Finch (DERM); Jacinta Mills (PhD student); Glen Harry (Project staff); Associate Professor Peter Murray (UQ)
Meeting started at 10:00 and closed at 11:50am
Australian Hunter Survey
There was discussion about the Australian Hunter Survey – a number of questions were finalised and it was agreed Neal and Glen would contact the different Hunting organisations about making the survey available to their members – by advertising the URL. It was decide if anyone had any queries they should use Dr Julia Hoy’s email address as the contact person (Julia has agreed to be that contact – email@example.com – she has had experience with surveys and the use of SurveyMonkey).
Mitchell introduced himself and explained he was going to do his Research Masters on the interactions between wild deer and wild dogs around Cressbrook Dam. This research will utilise the existing soil plots, transect and spotlight surveys, and also include collection and analysis of dog faeces within the catchment.
From the soil plots, transect and spotlight surveys Mitchell hopes to establish an estimate of the wild dog population and from analysis of the faeces determine their diet, in particular the importance of deer. Given enough fresh faecal samples or tissue samples DNA analysis will be attempted (given also enough funds are available). Although Mitchell doesn’t officially start until 1st January 2012 he will be given access to the existing soil plot, transect and spotlight survey data to extract the ‘dog data’.
It was suggested the Mitchell should assist with the soil plot and spotlight surveys in October (Mitchell assisted with vegetation sampling and monitoring at two of the exclosures on the 2nd September after being given a TRC induction to work on the project.). As part of the October surveys it was decide that Mitchell and staff in those surveys should collect all scats and GPS their location.
Matt discussed his PhD outline and from his fieldwork methods (estimates of absolute abundance, indices of abundance and collared animals) he should be able to get 4 publications. Further to this given the quantity of data it was suggested that Dr Joe Scanlan be contacted (by Peter Murray) to establish if it was possible to usefully model some of Matt’s data.
Matt explained that he has 28 deer with collars (12VHF, 16 GPS – 7♀, 9♂) with only 1 missing (white GPS) collar (the deer is thought to have been shot downstream of the dam wall)(On the 1st September a white GPS collar was recovered buried within the catchment – this deer was darted by Glen in early 2010 and the cut and damaged collar buried in March 2011 – fortunately the excellent GPS data on the collar has been recovered). Equally exciting was the matching of data from the young spiker fitted with the DEEDI (Dog) collar which was subsequently captured, on a field camera, wallowing and the GPS data recorded on the collar was an excellent match to the data captured at the wallow.
Matt told the meeting he plans to have his Confirmation meeting (for his PhD) on the week 19-23 September (as Greg is on long service leave 26/9-24/10).
Jacinta told the meeting that since she has started we have had 3 exclosure sites where the vegetation has been sampled, dried and weighed and two of these sites have also had their vegetation monitored (vegetation coverage and floristics recorded).(On the 2nd September 3 more exclosures sites (Oakdale Heights, Fishermans Toilet and Mountain Top) were monitored and both Oakdale Heights and Mountain Top sites had their vegetation sampled). Greg told the meeting that he has all the previous (baseline – pre flood) vegetation data and he will give this data to Jacinta to analyse. Given the predications of a very wet summer it was decided that all exclosures at all sites will be monitored 6 monthly even if it is not possible to do vegetation sampling.
There was discussion about the routine TRC culling being undertaken and Glen and Matt were going to try ‘vacuuming’ the bodies on one side (e.g. 2 blows down the chest, 2 blows on the neck, 2 blows down the front and back legs and on the belly only on the ‘upside’ of the animal lying on the ground) to see if it was possible to ‘capture’ seeds etc from the hair. Unfortunately Matt and Glen were unable to find a suitable piece of equipment to vacuum animals but retrieved fresh faeces, jawbones, and checked the pregnancy status of nine animals – a total of 32 animals were culled.
Jacinta told the meeting she now has nursery space available at the UQ Gatton campus nursery and that she was going to apply for additional funding from the Ecological Society of Australian and that she was going to ask Nev whether there was a good floristic description of Cressbrook Dam catchment.
There was some discussion about the use of Cressbrook Creek vegetation (within the Cressbrook Dam catchment) to undertake both the development of the browse photographic index and to do the measurement of browse impact by deer using prickly pear, lantana and an Acacia species. It was agreed this would start as soon as all exclosures had been sampled and monitored – hopefully during September 2011. Given the amount of plant material that would be collected during this process it was decided that the browse would be cut and stored to air dry in the second Project house and then the leaves removed to be oven dried.
Neal Finch told the meeting he was getting two RF Dataloggers for the Project at cost ($600 each) from Titleys. Neal also informed the meeting that he would like to use helicopter to conduct a survey of the deer in October (Greg and Peter to discuss this taking into consideration the budget); should this survey proceed Tony Pople was suggested to involved in the survey design.
A year student Brad Lynch had approached both Greg and Peter about ‘work experience’ as part of a Scholarship he had applied for. It was agreed we would host Brad and Glen was going to contact Brad about the timing of his work experience to coincide with project activities.
Thursday, August 11th, 2011
Congratulations to Doug Robinson for having the closest guess to the number of cartridges in the cap competition at the ADA Hunting Expo. The Deer Research Cap will be coming your way soon.
For everyone else, Thanks for your interest and the number of cartridges was 358.