Assessing Ungulate Populations in Temperate North America

Posted on May 15, 2020


by Rob FOUND and Brent R. PATTERSON
CWBM 9 (1): 21–42

Correspondence: Rob Found, Parks Canada, Elk Island National Park, 1 – 54401 Range Road 203, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, T8L 0V3, Canada.



Ungulates are among the most intensively managed wildlife in North America because they are both keystone and umbrella species, and because of their importance as game species for subsistence and sport hunters. To manage ungulate populations effectively, wildlife managers must employ survey methods that can provide population estimations that are accurate and precise enough to achieve management goals, yet efficient and economical enough to remain practical. In this paper, we review major methods for estimating both absolute and relative abundance of ungulate populations across temperate North America, where season and habitat provide a further challenge to selecting and developing an appropriate survey method for a given species. We consider physiological and behavioural differences among species that influence the relative effectiveness of one method over another, and make recommendations accordingly. Identifying the best method for surveying a given ungulate population ensures that long-term management is both effective and sustainable.

Key Words: Population Estimation, Survey, Wildlife Management, Wildlife Surveys.



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