Evaluating The Deer Track Census Method Used In The Southeast

An evaluation of published work on the deer track count census method indicates the popularly used 1:1 relationship between tracks across roads and number of deer on an area can be neither rejected nor accepted. The day-to-day variability in deer track crossings usually requires a large number of consecutive counts to detect changes in populations. Procedures for determining the required number of counts are presented. A perennial problem confronting game technicians is that of obtaining an accurate population census of wildlife. The deer track count method, commonly employed in the coastal plain of the Southeast, is a census technique that is in obvious need of careful analysis and possible refinement. A critical evaluation is required to determine its limitations as an estimator of animal numbers or to relegate it to more appropriate uses, if possible, such as an index to population changes or as a "show me" type indicator of animal presence. This paper examines the results and conclusions of earlier reports published in the Southeast on the deer track count census method and makes recommendations for using the technique.

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