Last week my kids Brooke and Bailey (10-year old twins) participated in their first school science fair. Since they were having trouble deciding on a project, I suggested a trail camera survey of deer. It seemed a natural fit for two reasons; we’ve raised both kids to be interested in wildlife, and Bailey (our son) has been into photography since toddler-hood. So, whether to please their Pop, a pure interest in science, or an act of sheer desperation, they signed on.

They stuck a trail camera out for a week in a popular feeding spot near my dad’s house. Then the kids pulled the memory card every couple days, plugged it into the computer and recorded every whitetail visit and the time it occurred. After amassing 6 days of data, they came up with a color-coded chart that showed the most popular feeding times. It was interesting even to me; the only hours that lacked any visits by whitetails were 9 a.m. until noon, and 1 p.m. to 2:00. Every other hour showed at least some deer activity. The most popular feeding slot? Four to 6 p.m.

For their science fair display, the kids put together a pretty neat display board that included their feeding chart, some trail cam pics, and photos of them sticking out the camera, recording data, etc. For a couple of 4th graders, I thought they did a darn good job! More important, they performed some advanced scouting for their old dad! Next year I’m going to suggest something like “The Physics of Hanging a Tree Stand,” or “The Most Efficient Methods for Dragging a Deer.” I’m open to suggestions!