Assessment of Infrared-triggered Camera Surveys for Estimating White-tailed Deer Populations in Central Texas
Cooksey, Matthew L.
Remote sensing of animal populations using infrared-triggered cameras is a new and innovative technology in monitoring wildlife populations. I compared estimates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) density using infrared-triggered cameras with results from mobile line and spotlight surveys in the same areas. Study areas consisted of one wildlife area and two park areas approximately 65 ha each in size at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Lake Georgetown Projec4 Texas. An infrared-triggered camera was placed in the center of each study area and monitored for 14 days. One week after removal of cameras, four replicates of mobile line and spotlight line counts were completed to provide a basis for comparison. The fawn population was underestimated by the camera survey technique. The camera survey produced buck:doe ratios and budl population estimates consistent with mobile line and spotlight line counts and minimum number of known fork-antlered bucks in each area. Mobile line and spotlight line surveys underestimated the number of bucks compared to the known number of individually identified bucks with cameras. A new formula I derived for estimating the population only worked when there were no fork-antlered bucks in photographs. Mark-recapture methods produced unreliable results for the camera survey method. Finally, population estimates stabilized after 11 days of camera surveys, which is three fewer days than recommended. Even though statistical test for accuracy could not be conducted on the data, this new technology seems to be a promising method for landowners with small properties and limited survey visibilities for monitoring their deer herd, with the added benefit of a picture of each buck using an area.
white-tailed deer, infrared detectors, wildlife management
Cooksey, M. L. (2007). Assessment of infrared-triggered camera surveys for estimating white-tailed deer populations in Central Texas (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.