Principal Investigators: Dr. Tim Van Deelen, UW-Madison; Julie Van Stappen, National Park Service
Research intern: Travis Bartnick
Project Title: Estimating population size for deer living in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Abstract: Issues of overabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have created many challenges for wildlife managers in the Great Lakes Region. Relatively recent deer colonization and eruptions on Sand and York Islands within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has threatened several browse-sensitive plant species, including Canada yew (Taxus canadensis). Responsible management and continued research of the deer population on the islands requires robust estimates of population levels. The remoteness and inaccessibility of the islands has made conventional methods of estimating the population size infeasible. The purpose of this project is to develop and test a technique for white-tailed deer population estimation using remote infrared-triggered cameras. As we develop the study, we intend to address common study design issues such as using bait at camera sites and unequal detection rates of males and females. We hope this research will provide wildlife professionals an additional, non-invasive means of estimating population levels in remote areas where conventional methods are impractical. This project is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Environmental Protection Agency Project #92.