A Comparison of Scent-station Surveys and Track Counts for Monitoring Furbearers

Scent-station and track-count transects were monitored simultaneously in 5 units of the Big Thicket National Preserve. We examined these transects for furbearer tracks for 3 consecutive days every 3 months from January 1987 through March 1988. Greater species diversity and species richness of furbearers were recorded on track-count surveys than on scent-station surveys on 4 of the 5 study units. The number of monitoring periods with no record of a species group was compared between the 2 techniques. Track-count surveys recorded "no presence" of a species group less often than scent-station surveys. Tracks of dog-like canids, fox-like canids, raccoons (Procyon lotor), and opossums (Didelphis virginiana) were used to compare precision and to correlate the 2 techniques. No difference in precision of the 2 techniques was found in this study. Relevant positive correlations were calculated for the 2 techniques in 6 of 16 cases. Labor and cost requirements for each technique were similar.

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