Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (480 KB)

Title: Reliability and precision of pellet-group counts for estimating landscape-level deer density

Author: deCalesta, David S.;

Date: 2013

Source: Human-Wildlife Interactions. 7(1): 60-68.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: This study provides hitherto unavailable methodology for reliably and precisely estimating deer density within forested landscapes, enabling quantitative rather than qualitative deer management. Reliability and precision of the deer pellet-group technique were evaluated in 1 small and 2 large forested landscapes. Density estimates, adjusted to reflect deer harvest and overwinter mortality, were compared with a drive count on the small landscape and with aerial counts using forward-looking infrared videography (FLIR) on the large landscapes. Estimates by 2 expert and 2 novice counters (range = 17.6 to 18.6 deer/km2) on the small landscape were not different from each other and three of the four were not different from the drive count (17.4 deer/km2). FLIR density estimates were approximately 30% lower than pellet-group estimates on the large landscapes (P < 0.04), an expected result. Precision on the small landscape was high; 95% confidence intervals for individual counters were <7.5% of mean estimates of density, and coefficients of variability were <10%. Precision on the larger landscapes was acceptable: 95% confidence intervals were 18.4 to 30.4% of mean estimates and coefficients of variability were <25%. The pellet-group technique produces reliable and precise estimates of deer density, is inexpensive, requires little training to implement, and is best suited to northern hardwood forests where snow and cold result in minimal deterioration of pellet groups. Unless corrected for hunter harvest and overwinter mortality, pellet-group counts represent average overwinter density and overestimate spring density.

Keywords: density estimates, human-wildlife conflicts, Odocoileus virginianus, pellet-group technique, white-tailed deer

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.

XML: View XML

Citation:


deCalesta, David S. 2013. Reliability and precision of pellet-group counts for estimating landscape-level deer density. Human-Wildlife Interactions. 7(1): 60-68.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.