There are several methods for tick surveillance including both active and passive methods. These include tick drags and tick collections from animals.
Active surveillance is used to further determine whether a species of tick is established within a certain area and researchers actively go out into the field to collect tick specimens by various methods including flagging or dragging, collection from host or reservoir animals and trapping ticks in carbon dioxide baited traps. Passive surveillance is where tick specimens are voluntarily submitted to state or federal public health departments or disease surveillance laboratories by veterinarians, physicians and the general public. Rocky Mountain wood ticks can be identified in any of their three life stages: larvae, nymph, and adult. These ticks are active between January and November and are found in the Rocky Mountains between 4,000 and 10,500 feet. The larvae have six legs while the nymphs and adults have eight legs. Adult females look similar to the American Dog tick. They are dark brown with a cream colored gray scutum. The adult males scutum is mottled with brown markings overall on a dark brown body (text from: http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/wisconsin-ticks/tick-surveillance/).