Abstract

Title:  Evaluation of visual estimates in determining transect width of spotlight counts.
Author(s): Richardson, M. L., K. A. McKinstry, and K. D. Krantz.
Year: 1988
Abstract: Spotlight counts are commonly used to census deer on many wildlife managment areas in Florida. The utilization of this technique requires an accurate assessment of transect width. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of visual estimates in determining transect width. Transect width was estimated visually and measured with a tape every 0.1 mile along 18 miles of spotlight transect on the Tosohatchee and Seminole Ranch Wildlife Managment Areas in central Florida during June of 1986. The transects traversed 11 miles of pine flatwoods, 4 miles of cordgrass marsh, and 3 miles of improved pasture. Visual estimates were made by 2 experienced observers during the spotlight counts. Transect width was measured prior to spotlight counts and required 72 additional man-hours. Visual estimates of transect width were within 10% of the measured width in all habitat types. Transect widths were calculated using each method for each 1 mile segment of habitat and were used as pairs in a paired T test. There was no significant difference between the 2 methods (E>O.OS). The results of this study suggest visual estimates by experienced observers is an efficient and relatively accurate method, for estimating transect widths of spotlight counts.

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