The numbers of blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say, per hectare that engorged as larvae and nymphs on white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque), were estimated at 3 sites in coastal Massachusetts. Estimates of numbers of engorged ticks dropping per day from trapped mice were multiplied by mark-recapture estimates of the density (numbers per hectare) of white-footed mice to estimate numbers of ticks engorging on mice per hectare. In 1991, estimates of seasonal totals per hectare of I. scapularis nymphs completing blood meals on P.leucopus ranged from 825 +/- 68 at Nonamesset to 6,654 +/- 770 at Menemsha. This absolute sampling method (the drop-off method) was compared with drag sampling for nymphal ticks. Per hectare estimation of engorgement rates overcomes a shortcoming associated with drag sampling because site-to-site comparisons can be made even where vegetation structure differs markedly among sites. The drop-off method may be used to quantify the contribution of any host to the engorged tick population, provided sufficient such hosts can be collected on a weekly basis.