Use of Scent-station Methodology to Assess Raccoon Abundance

Monthly scent-station visitation rates, derived from 19 transects located in 4 habitat types (bottomland hardwood, bluff-shoreline, upland hardwood, and pinehardwood) in western Tennessee during May 1982 through November 1984 were evaluated as indices of raccoon (Procyon lotor) abundance. The correlation between scent-station indices and winter raccoon density estimates was assessed at 9 sites. Generally, scent-station visitation rates were high from May to October in all habitats, and moderate to low from November to April. Highest visitation occurred in June and July, and lowest in December and January. Differences in visitation rates among habitats were significant for 8 of 11 months examined; greatest differences among habitats occurred during June and July. Visitation rates were greatest in habitats that supported high winter densities of raccoons. In 7 out of 12 months, visitation rates were significantly correlated with winter density estimates. Scent-station methodology, as applied in this study, appears to provide a useful tool for monitoring trends in raccoon abundance.

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