That is a good question about how they arrive at their final numbers. They should release a margin of error with their results. It doesn't seem possible that they would know "61,174" with absolute precision.
However I do think they can probably nail it within +/- 10%, based on a few pieces of data. Here are some guess on how they get the numbers....
- A few well placed check stations with knowing how many animals will and will not come through the station for the unit (on average). Extrapolate to other units.
- Submitted heads for cwd checking and knowing on average how many hunters will submit an animal for testing. Extrapolate to other units.
- Random phone calls to those that purchased over the counter tags or drew out. Random sampling of a group can be quite accurate when the sampling is done correctly. I know the DOW used to do this, not sure if they still do.
- Probably the most important is doing a prehunt and posthunt animal survey per unit. By calculating the difference in these numbers the total harvest can be derived.
I'd say the answer is E) ALL OF THE ABOVE - most notably the pre and post hunt surveys. Especially if they have a good feel for the traditional movements of the herd during the year. The "exact" sounding figure was probably the result of a computer modelling program.
[ This Message was edited by: saskie on 2003-04-13 23:56 ]
Yes it is probably a conglomerate of all the above and some modeling. None the less, the DOW should release some margin of error with the info. Since giving five sig-figs (meaning that they know each of the 5 digits of 61174 precisely) of precision is mis-leading.
In fact without releasing a margin of error it is impossible to know whether it really was a record year. If the margin of error in their methods was +/- 20% that would put it in the bounds of last years results (42k elk again assuming a +/-20% error) and make it impossible to know whether or not it was a record year or not.
That being said, it seemed like a pretty good year. Lot of elk and a lot of people I knew tagged out....
A perk of majoring in wildlife biology in college is the plethora of hunting knowledge that you collect throughout your course load. One of the most important factors in whether an area can hold large quantities of animals or produce large antlers is forage.
Most universities, state schools and even community colleges offer basic botany courses and plant ID courses. Although it might not be feasable for the average middle age hunter to pay tuition and go back to college to learn hunting...