Wildlife Surveys



Helicopter surveys are used for obtaining deer populations and other wildlife (exotics, predators and deer) which helps you obtain the following information (estimating density, sex ratios, and fawn survival, and age and wildlife distribution) which is necessary for developing harvest recommendations based on goals. Before an aerial survey can be conducted a “Landowners Authorization Form” must be filled out prior to the day of the survey and a permit must be issued by Texas Parks and Wildlife.



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.

Useful information:

LandOwner's Authorization to Manage Wildlife or Exotic Animals by Aircraft Form.

Aerial Surveys for White-tailed Deer in Texas