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
"Reliability and Precision of Pellet-Group Counts for Estimating Landscape-Level Deer Density,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 7
, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol7/iss1/6