State agencies and managers seek more efficient and cost-effective survey methods to monitor wildlife populations in an attempt to maintain biologically defensible results amid continued budgetary constraints. We employed a noninvasive approach using infrared cameras and a skunk-based lure on 52 grids to estimate detection and occupancy rates of swift foxes (Vulpes velox) in eastern Colorado. We used eight camera stations within 31-km2 grids, monitored each grid for five consecutive nights, and collected 331 swift fox detections from August–October 2011. We documented 78 more swift fox detections on 25% more grids using remote cameras with skunk lure while deploying 60% fewer survey stations per grid than previous mark–recapture surveys. Our estimates showed improvements in precision and accuracy for detecting swift foxes and estimating occupancy across eastern Colorado. Using infrared cameras and a skunk-based lure proved to be an efficient and effective technique for monitoring swift foxes on a landscape scale by reducing labor costs, survey time, and potential biases that may result from using cameras or other survey techniques.
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Vol. 59 • No. 4