Abstract

Title:  Evaluation of Infrared-Triggered Camera Census Techniques Without the Use of Bait.
Author(s): Christopher E. Comer, Gino J. D'Angelo, Karl V. Miller, Cory Drennan, and David A. Osborn - University of Georgia and John C. Kilgo - USDA Forest Service
Year: 2002
Abstract: Infrared-triggered cameras have been used to estimate population density of freeranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Jacobson and co-workers used cameras placed over bait stations in 161-acre (65-ha) blocks in Mississippi to derive reliable estimates of deer population size. However, placing and maintaining bait stations on a large study area can be labor-intensive and deer in some areas may not respond well to bait. Conceivably, bait stations also may attract deer from adjacent areas outside the study area, thereby yielding higher estimates. Our experience at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, SC, indicated deer did not respond well to corn and other bait. Therefore, we implemented an infraredtriggered camera survey technique using cameras placed along well-used trails, bedding areas, or other locations with high deer use. Cameras were placed for 6 nights at optimal locations within 64 69-acre (28-ha) grid cells superimposed over four study areas of 4,428 acres (1,792 ha) each. Twelve deer with numbered ear tags (6 does and 6 bucks) were present on one study area, allowing population size estimation by mark-recapture techniques for that area. We evaluated the effectiveness of the camera survey as an index by comparing the results to more commonly used survey techniques, such as pellet group and track counts, as well as population reconstruction/estimation procedures. Preliminary results indicate camera survey indices are comparable to those obtained with the more established survey techniques.

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