A primary problem with camera trapping in wildlife occupancy studies is the failure to detect an animal when it is present at the site. My objective was to determine the optimal attractant setup for maximizing detection probabilities of northeast mammalian communities. I carried out an camera trapping project in northern Maine, USA from August to November 2018, and tested 3 distinct attractant setup. Sampling stations consisted of four camera units, and each sampling unit constituted either a treatment or a control: 1) bait + lure (treatment), 2) bait only (treatment), 3) lure only (treatment), and 4) camera only (control). Data analysis was conducted in program PRESENCE, using a single season, multi-method occupancy modeling framework. Results showed that the combination attractant of bait + lure was the most effective for maximizing detection probability of carnivores. Bait + lure also proved to be particularly effective for mustelid species, while ‘lure only’ was particularly effective for American black bear (Ursus americanus). Use of attractants was shown to have nearly no effect on detection probability of non-carnivore taxa.
Buyaskas, Michael, "Assessing the Effectiveness of Attractants to Increase Detection Probabilities in Northeastern Mammals" (2019). Honors College. 484.