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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vision Air Research Will Continue Deer Census in Fort Thomas

Fort Thomas Matters Reporter

Vision Air Research has done the deer census in Fort Thomas since 2010 and will continue to do so.

Fort Thomas City Administrator Don Martin said the city likes Vision Air’s work. Vision Air Research is based in Boise, Idaho. President and founder Susan Bernatas has more than 18 years of experience conducting such research.

“There are very few companies that have the equipment and expertise to conduct infrared aerial surveys,” Martin said. “Vision Air is highly qualified and is recommended by other municipalities who have used them. Additionally, using the same company to conduct the surveys ensures consistent methodologies are employed which result in more accurate survey results. For example, they fly the same transects, use the same airplane and use the same equipment. They use the same wildlife biologist to conduct the actual counts, so the survey results are more accurate for the purpose of year-to-year comparisons. Having this consistency provides an added measure of credibility to the surveys.”

Bernatas also has eight years of experience working with aerial technologies such as forward-looking infrared (FLIR) to conduct wildlife surveys. Bernatas took on a three-year project to configure sheep population estimates for the United States Air Force.

Vision Air Research has conducted three surveys altogether. The company could not conduct one in 2012 because of heavy snowfall in the area and a warmer spring that caused trees to come out earlier.

The last survey concluded on Jan. 21 of this year. There were not any accidents or injuries reported during the 2012/2013 year. But the deer-related vehicle accidents did increase from 19 to 20 from last year. No vehicle accidents were caused by deer last year, but one bicycle rider did receive injuries after colliding with a deer on Covert Run Pike. The surveys have seen the deer population decrease from 205 in 2010 to 132 in 2011 and 96 this year.

Deer surveys done from January, 2003 to December, 2012 concluded that people are most likely to see deer on Memorial Parkway and Route 8. There have been 42 accidents with deer on Memorial Parkway during that time and 20 on Route 8. Alexandria Pike saw 17 accidents with 12 each occurring on I-275 and North Grand Avenue.

“As long as there are deer in the city, there will be deer/vehicle accidents,” Martin said. “The city is not trying to eliminate all deer from the city. Instead, the city is attempting to reduce the frequency and number of deer/vehicle accidents. Other methods the city may employ has not yet been determined.”


  1. Of the alleged 99 deer in Ft. Thomas, there are twelve that frequent my backyard daily and I don't live near either of the locations listed in the article. I find it hard to believe that there are only 99 deer roaming the city.

  2. If this vision Air Research outfit says there are only 96 deer in Ft. Thomas, their services are a waste of money for the city. There are deer herds all over the North End of town, and 96 cannot be an accurate count. Just drive down Covert Run any time and you will see a half dozen right along the roadway.

  3. I just don't think the current ordinances are doing the trick. Either allow more liberal laws or live with deer/accidents.

    Right now this half-butt archery ordinance coupled with Vision Air isn't doing anything.

  4. I have never seen as many fawns as I have seen this year! They are not afraid of people and stand right by the road and sleep in my back yard with my dogs barking their heads off! I also find it hard to believe that there are only 96 in the city-most of them seem to be in my backyard.

  5. I agree that the number of roughly 100 deer in all of Fort Thomas is absurdly low. Like other reports, I see the same doe and two fawns every afternoon around 4:30 on the way home from work near the intersection of Rossford and Covert Run. Drive up Covert Run any morning or evening and you will be sure to see several deer. Besides spots that they frequent, it is perfectly normal to see them jumping the fence at the Hall Estate on Rossford, in the neighborhood of Scenic View, along the Avenue near the Post Office / St. Andrew, NEARLY ANYWHERE IN TOWN, BESIDES MEMORAIL PARKWAY. 100? SEVERAL TIMES THAT MAYBE.

  6. Absolute waste of money it is time to hire marksmen to rid FT of this nuisance.