A Comparison of Some Census Techniques for the Cottontail Rabbit

For comparative purposes four census techniques were applied to livetrapping data from native cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) populations in two beagle field trial enclosures. On both areas the Virginia Polytechnic Institute-Grouped Lincoln Index, the Schnabel and the Schumacher-Eschmeyer methods yielded similar estimates; the Eberhardt method yielded estimates which were approximately double the others. Stocking of rabbits on both enclosures provided populations of known density for testing the accuracy of the estimators. The Eberhardt method showed a tendency to overestimate cottontail populations; however, it was consistently more accurate than the other methods tested. Other evidence which supports the use of the Eberhardt method is discussed.

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