Science Note Vol. 8 No. 6
The intent of sign stations and archer observations are to monitor trends. While not capable of determining population size, these monitoring efforts provide valuable information on population trends.
Sign station indices can detect large changes in furbearer populations at low cost relative to other methods. The surveys use 36-inch diameter circles of sifted soil, set up every 0.3 miles along shoulders of gravel roads. Within each station is a scent attractant disc. Stations are set up in a day and checked the next day for presence of animal tracks. We use sign station surveys to collect trend data for 8 terrestrial furbearer species.
Since 1983 we have conducted annual surveys of wildlife populations via the archer’s diary survey. Each fall, several thousand archery deer and turkey hunters keep daily sighting records for furbearers, other small game animals, deer, and turkeys. This group provides an important monitoring service and enables us to track population indices and range expansion of select terrestrial species. We use the number of sightings of each species divided by the total number of hours hunted to calculate a sighting rate. Rates are expressed as the number of sightings per 1,000 hours hunted.