Accuracy and Precision of Line Transect Procedures for White-tailed Deer

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) densities and sex ratios were determined during 2 seasons for a semiconfined population. Two drive counts were used to estimate deer densities when an entire area was traversed, once in early winter and once in summer. In addition to the 2 drive counts, 5 random transects, totaling 4.5 km, were walked 6 times (3 times in fall and 3 in summer). Eighteen different density estimators were calculated using the line transect data. Compared to the density estimates derived from drive counts, the Hayne Constant Radius estimator gave the most accurate estimate for fall-gathered data, while the Exponential estimator gave the most accurate estimate for summer-gathered data. Considering both fall and summer estimates, the Generalized Exponential procedure was the most accurate. Precision was greatest with the Polynomial, Triangular, and Exponential procedures for summer, fall, and combined surveys, respectively. High variability, associated with estimates (and therefore lack of precision), suggests research is needed on the applicability of models to data obtainable during helicopter surveys or other methods. Buck-to-doe ratio estimates from the line transects were greater (P < 0.05) than those derived from the drive counts.

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