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....
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