The aerial helicopter census provides the most accurate
survey data, especially for low brush areas such as south, north and western
Texas counties. Although this method is not totally accurate (research has
shown it to range from 25 to 75 percent accurate) research has also shown it
is the most accurate and consistent of the above mentioned methods.
Helicopter surveys are flown in transects. Total counts are
considered the best when conditions allow. Total counts involve flying in a
systematic transect that allows the entire property to be completely
observed. On larger properties, individual pastures are flown separately and
usually treated as individual management units. Due to the versatility of
the helicopter, observers can learn more about an area in a shorter period
of time than by any other census method. This method provides better sex
ratio data and fawn survival estimates because it allows the observer to see
a large number of animals in a short period of time. The helicopter survey
method is considered the most expensive method economically, but is less
labor and time restrictive than the spotlight count method.
Helicopter surveys allow the
landowner/manager to determine the following:
1. Buck to Doe Ratio
2. Fawn Production
3. Antler Development of Bucks
4. Distribution of Animals on Ranch
5. Vegetative Condition of Ranch
6. Location of Deer for Harvest.