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New wildlife survey method in northeast Oregon: Helicopters will increase aerial survey time
March 11, 2011


CANYON CITY, Ore.—A new wildlife survey method will be used to count mule deer in Grant, Gilliam, Morrow and Wheeler counties over the next few weeks.

This new “quadrat” method requires more aerial survey time by helicopter then other survey methods. The helicopter surveys could go on for the next month in four wildlife management units (WMUs)—Murderers Creek, Northside, Heppner and Fossil.

Typically, ODFW wildlife biologists estimate deer populations by surveying historic routes each winter to count overall deer and fawn numbers. The data is later entered into a population model that also factors in hunter harvest.

With the quadrat method, biologists aerially survey a subset of square mile units randomly scattered across the entire deer winter range in a WMU. Numbers from the representative subset of units can then be expanded to the entire winter range, producing a more accurate estimate for the whole WMU.

ODFW is using this new method due to the Mule Deer Initiative (MDI), an effort to increase mule deer populations, which have declined in Oregon and across the West. These improved wildlife survey methods will help evaluate the success of predator management, habitat improvement, increased law enforcement and travel management, which are some of the efforts underway as part of MDI.

More information on the Mule Deer Initiative





Michelle Dennehy (503) 931-2748 /
Fax: (503) 947-6009

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