Title:  Accuracy and precision of helicopter censusing for white-tailed deer.
Author(s): Leon, E., S. L. Beasom, and D. R. Synatszke.
Year: 1985
Abstract: Accuracy and precision of helicopter censusing was evaluated on the Chaparral Wildlife Managment area (CWMA) in South Texas. Four sample intensities were tested: 100, 50, 25, and 10% area coverage. Fifty white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virainianus), on each of 2 intensive deerproof fenced study sites (about 2,833 ha each), were individually marked and released in October 1983. The marked animals were the "known" population and animals were visually "recaptured" during each of 6 repeated counts at each intensity. Accuracy was evaluated by comparing the number of marked deer observed during each flight to the number available. Additionally, two 271 -ha enclosures were used as extensive study sites. They were censused by a single 100% coverage helicopter flight on 3 February 1984, and the populations were assumed to be the total number of deer observed. A deer drive was conducted in each area on 15 February to determine total population levels. Precisions was tested by comparing the coefficient of variation (CV) of total marked deer seen between each of the 6 counts. Accuracy ranged between 26-40% and CV ranged between 19.6-69.996 for both intensive study areas. The 100% coverage was about 43% accurate for both extensive areas when compared to the deer drive, which largely substantiates the results on the intensive study sites. There was no correlation (p s 0.31, r = -0.41) between accuracy and intensity. This suggests that accuracy is unaffected by sample intensity and no apparent increase in accuracy of estimates is achieved at rates about 10%. Precision, however, was greatly influenced by the sample intensity tested. Combining data from the intensive study areas yielded a negative correlation (p = 0.03, r = -0.76) between CV and sample intensity.

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