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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Evaluating Potential Effects of Camera Density on Capture and Recapture Rates of Bobcats

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AUTHORS: Christopher N. Jacques, Tim C. Swearingen, Edward D. Davis - Western Illinois University; Robert W. Klaver, US Geological Survey; Chuck R. Anderson, Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Jonathan A. Jenks, South Dakota State University; Christopher S. DePerno, North Carolina State University; Robert D. Bluett, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Performance advances among remotely triggered cameras has prompted their widespread use in estimating density (the single parameter of greatest importance to wildlife managers studying population dynamics) of elusive and mobile predators such as bobcats (Lynx rufus). Corresponding advancements in statistical methods are available for estimating population density from capture-recapture studies. Nevertheless, reliability of density estimates varies widely between species, due to heterogeneity in numbers and placement of camera stations among studies, and the ability to capture and recapture individuals across multiple camera trap locations. We evaluated potential effects of camera density on capture and recapture rates of bobcats in agriculturally dominated landscapes of west-central Illinois. We deployed 31 camera stations during two sampling intervals (15 May–15 Jun 2016, 20 Apr–20 May 2017) over 1,800 trap nights. Our analyses revealed that effects of camera density on bobcat detection probability was marginally significant (F2,3 = 7.33, P = 0.07, R2 = 0.22); maximum detection (mean = 0.53, SE = 0.08) was associated with moderate camera densities (4–6 cameras/9 km2). Numbers of individual bobcats detected varied (F2,3 = 9.93, P = 0.04) with camera density; moderate and high (8–10 cameras/9 km2) camera densities yielded greater (P = 0.05) numbers of individuals than lower camera densities (1–2 cameras/9 km2) and we detected no more than 4 individual bobcats at any 1 camera station. We documented no differences (F2,3 = 4.21, P = 0.14) in recapture rates between low and high camera densities, though noted positive associations (R2 = 0.71) between recapture rates and increasing camera densities. When photo-capture and recapture rates are a function of camera density, modifying camera trapping techniques by deploying moderate camera densities or repositioning cameras to more productive areas within survey grids may improve capture success in low density bobcat populations.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer