Title:  Determining Detection Success and Density Estimations of White-tailed Deer Using Helicopter Transects: A King Ranch Example
Author(s): Matthew J. Schnupp – Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute; Mickey W. Hellickson–King Ranch, Inc.; David G. Hewitt, Eric J. Redeker, William C. Stasey– Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute; Randy DeYoung
Year: 2007
Abstract: Helicopter surveys are regularly used as a tool to estimate white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations in South Texas. We compared density estimates obtained from flight surveys on the King Ranch between standard 100 yard swath width belt transects and estimates obtained using program DISTANCE. With a known number of GPS collard bucks (n=17) on our study area (10,000 ac.) we were able to test the visibility and detection rates using an R-44 (4-seat) helicopter and GPS technology. To determine the accuracy and importance of range finders in obtaining distance data for whitetail we compared known locations from GPS collard bucks to our rangefinder and visual estimation results. We anticipate the ability to calculate a range in detection rates, as well as an average detection rate that can be used to increase accuracy of future lease surveys. We present on the motivation, purpose, and data emerging from this study.

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