Date of Graduation

8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor/Mentor

Haggard, Brian

Committee Member/Reader

White, Don

Committee Member/Second Reader

Costello, Thomas

Abstract

White Tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are the only deer species native to Arkansas, playing a crucial role in the ecosystem. Healthy deer populations are important for environmental and human wellbeing, and overpopulation can lead to poor herd health, overgrazing, increased vehicle collisions and transmission of diseases. Monitoring deer populations through surveys can be a useful tool in managing wildlife and maintaining Arkansas’ natural resources.

This study analyzed trends in Hobbs State Park’s deer population and estimated the current roadside deer population of the park. Data from past surveys was analyzed for trends using a Mann-Kendall Test, and a distance sampling approach was implemented using a 2021 survey to estimate the deer population. This new approach involved finding the relationship between the number of deer spotted and the distance from the viewer. For five nights, deer were counted in spotlight surveys and the distance to each deer was measured using laser rangefinders. This data was used to estimate the proportion of deer sighted and the total deer population of Hobbs State Park.

The number of deer spotted per km each year was highly variable, and from 1999 to 2021 it did not show a significant trend. However, there was a decrease in sightings per km from 2009 to 2021 with the newest 2021 survey having one of the lowest sightings on record. The distance sampling survey yielded an estimated roadside habitat density of 8.5 deer per . This amounts to a population of 40 deer in Hobbs’ roadside habitats and potentially 414 deer throughout the entire park. Due to the biased nature of roadside surveys, the latter figure is less accurate than the former, but this method still allowed for an estimate of the deer population of Hobbs State Park.

Keywords

Deer Survey, Surveying, Wildlife, Deer Population, Hobbs State Park, Distance Sampling

Share

COinS