Experience with Aerial Surveys

Ann Arbor is going to be undertaking Aerial Surveys of the deer in the Ann Arbor Area later this week. These articles may provide some additional knowledge to whomever is doing the survey.

Revealed: The Truth About Spotlight Deer Surveys, Deer and Deer Hunting, Sept 29, 2014Researchers identified 4,508 deer during 79 Bronson Forest surveys. Thermal imagers detected 85 percent (3,861 deer) of the total deer seen, and spotlights detected only 48 percent (2,174 deer) of the total. Likewise, of the deer observed, 33 percent were observed by the thermal imagers and spotlights, but 51 percent were only detected by thermal imagers, and 14 percent were only detected by spotlights.

Results and Description of the Redding Aerial Deer Survey, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Jan 24, 2014Includes an article: Detection Rates of White-tailed Deer with a Helicopter over Snow, Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2008. With important information highlighted (by the CT AgExperiment Station?) in this article

Comparison of visual-based helicopter and fixed-wing forward-looking infrared surveys for counting white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, Wildlife Biology 17: 431-440 (2011)We surveyed five plots: four 41.4 km2 plots with free-ranging white-tailed deer
Odocoileus virginianus populations in Wisconsin and a 5.3 km2 plot with a white-tailed deer population contained by a high fence in Michigan. We surveyed plots using both fixed-wing FLIR and helicopters, both with snow cover and without snow. None of the methods counted more deer than the other when snow was present. Helicopter counts were lower in the absence of snow, but lack of snow cover did not apparently affect FLIR.

A Review of Deer Management in Michigan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 2009

Pages of information on deer survey mechanisms

Deer Population Surveys – How Good Are They?, Ag News and Views, November 2007There are numerous types of surveys, including track counts, infrared-triggered camera surveys, aerial surveys with helicopters and, spotlight surveys. These techniques result in collecting data relative to deer numbers (density), sex ratios, reproductive rates, etc. These techniques can provide valuable insight about deer populations, but these techniques are surveys – the numbers generated using the data are estimates of population parameters, not exact numbers.

How is the deer population counted?, 12 December 2008. Layton, Julia., HowStuffWorks.com. In moderately dense forests, FLIR is up to 90 percent accurate, and in very dense forests it can count deer with up to 50 percent accuracy

These items and more about deer count can be found on our website’s Deer Count page


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