A Survey of Procedures to Determine Relative Abundance of Furbearers in the Southeastern United States

A phone questionnaire was used to determine the extent furbearer population surveys are used in the Southeast, describe the procedures used, identify problems and future directions, and quantitatively rank important considerations in using scent-station techniques based on an opinion survey. Eleven of 16 states conduct annual statewide surveys of furbearer population trends (10 of 11 were scent-station surveys) at an average cost of $26,095. There was no consistency among state surveys and most surveyed biologists (11 of 12) believed consistency was important but questions arose regarding timing and feasibility. Many surveys appeared to be in the developmental stages and the need was stressed for technique refinements and investigation of visitation and density relationships. Survey improvements and standardization may be enhanced through a centralized coordinating organization in the Southeast. The ability of recorders to identify tracks (#1) and the analysis and interpretation of data (#2) were ranked the most important considerations in using scent-station surveys. Most biologists believed that scent-station surveys possessed high potential for population monitoring and would likely be incorporated into long-term furbearer management.

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