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Tuesday, January 30 • 8:00am - 8:20am
UNGULATES: Elk Monitoring in Wisconsin: Trail Cameras and Citizen Science

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AUTHORS. Joe Dittrich, Dan Storm, Jennifer Stenglein, Susan Frett - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) desired a cost-effective, precise, and unbiased technique for monitoring demographics of recently-restored populations of elk (Cervus elaphus). WDNR and partners established trail camera grids, intended to encompass 3 distinct elk populations; Black River Falls, Clam Lake, and Flambeau River State Forest. Cameras were initially deployed during spring-summers of 2015, 2016, and 2017 by WDNR and partner staff or volunteers, but most cameras were eventually maintained by citizen volunteers. We used the camera data to estimate calf-to-cow ratios, seasonal distribution, daily and annual activity patterns, and population estimates. We used the ‘Royle and Nichols’ and ‘N-mixture’ population estimators. Demographic estimates derived from camera data generally matched estimates from other data sources (e.g. known numbers of marked animals, fecundity and survival data, etc) for the Clam Lake herd, but not for the Black River Falls herd, likely because elk in this herd spent little time on this trail camera grid.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 8:00am - 8:20am CST