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Evaluation of Night Spotlighting as a Deer Study Technique

Dale R. McCullough
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 46, No. 4 (Oct., 1982), pp. 963-973
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3808229
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3808229
Page Count: 11
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Evaluation of Night Spotlighting as a Deer Study Technique
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Abstract

Weekly spotlight counts of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were conducted for 1 year over a fixed route on the E. S. George Reserve in southeastern Michigan. Highest counts with least variance were obtained in October and November. Spotlight counts gave strongly biased sex and age ratios except during July for sex ratio and April for fawn: doe ratio. Large discrepancies occurred in deer use of habitat types as indicated by spotlight counts and pellet group surveys. Spotlight counts were not influenced by deer activity, group dynamics, and most weather factors. Snow depth in winter depressed spotlight counts. The major difficulty with the spotlight method was the presence of a dense, brushy habitat where spotlight penetration was ineffective.

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