- Contact information
- For information on wildlife surveys, contact:
- Brian Dhuey
Survey analyst/database manager
Bureau of Science Services
Wisconsin deer hunter wildlife survey
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking for your help in monitoring the relative abundance and distribution of deer and other mammalian/avian wildlife species in the state. The wildlife we are most interested in are deer, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, red and gray fox, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, bear, otter, fisher, bobcat, house cat, badger, wolf, opossum, elk or other wildlife not normally seen in your area. Since deer hunters often spend many quiet observation hours in the woods, you can provide valuable information about species that are often very difficult to measure. Past efforts in Wisconsin and other states (Ohio, Iowa and Missouri) have provided wildlife agencies with valuable information for managing many wildlife species.
In three years, Wisconsin deer hunters have reported a total of 37,000 hunting trips encompassing 218,752 hunting hours. Trips have been reported from all 72 counties every year. Statewide, deer hunters averaged seeing 0.32 deer per hunting hour in 2011, an increase from 0.28 deer per hour in 2010. Data generated from this survey provides the Wisconsin DNR with valuable data on the abundance and distribution of many wildlife species. The most frequently observed species other than deer were turkeys. Additionally, many hunters sent in interesting and unidentified wildlife trail camera photos. Please continue to send in these photos!
Read more about how deer estimates are made and the vital role that hunter observations, registration stubs, aerial surveys, statistics and summer reports provide in making these estimates. Sizing Up the Herd - Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.
- Be sure to record the date, number of hours, county, deer management unit, weather conditions and the type and number of animals for each observation.
- Use one survey form for each day of deer hunting.
- It is important that all of your deer hunting efforts be recorded, even if nothing is seen. Please record all of your hunting activity throughout the deer season, even if you have no wildlife sightings.
- If you want to receive notification of the start of the survey, reminders to report your observations, or want to have the results of the survey emailed to you, please sign up for the survey mailing list.
You can record your observations after each hunt, or for times when you will not have access to a computer and the web and would like to keep track of your observations, please print out this tally sheet and record your sightings. Then periodically return to the survey page, using the tally sheet to help you fill out the survey.
Please feel free to inform others of this survey. Thank you in advance for all your hard work and cooperation.
September 15-January 6
A total of 1,136 Wisconsin deer hunters have reported 5,017 hunting trips via the online survey. Two hundred sixty-nine individuals have also supplied an email address to have a summary of their observations emailed to them at the end of the survey period.
Trips were reported from 71 of 72 counties in the state and in 124 of 139 deer management units (DMU). Deer management unit 77M has the greatest number of observations (188), followed by DMU 53 with 180 observations. Hunters reported spending 24,868 observation hours in the field and averaged 5.0 hours per trip. Most trips and observation hours occurred in the northern forest followed by the southern farmland, eastern farmland, western farmland and lastly the central forest region.
Deer hunters have reported 1,971 bucks, 4,244 does, 2,510 fawns and 1,046 unknowns. Statewide, hunters averaged 0.39 deer seen per hour. Deer seen per hour varied between regions with the high being the eastern farmland averaging 0.61 deer per hour and the low being the northern forest averaging 0.20 deer per hour. The southern farmland and western farmland saw 0.51 and 0.56 deer per hour, respectively. The central forest region averaged 0.28 deer per hour.
The most frequently observed species other than deer were turkeys. Hunter sightings varied greatly by regions, with most sightings occurring in Wisconsin's primary turkey range, the farmland and central forest regions. The next most frequently seen animal was raccoon.
Trail camera photos wanted!
People often place trail cameras in the woods as scouting tools. These cameras can serve as a valuable resource in documenting rare or endangered animal's existence and location in the state. Trail camera photos of rare and endangered wildlife can be sent in from any season of the year, please consider sending in any interesting off-season photos you may have taken. If you have trail camera photos of moose, Canada lynx, cougar, American marten, stone marten, wolverine, Franklin's ground squirrel, badger or if you have photos of an animal not normally seen in your area, (like bobcat, fisher, river otter, etc.), or an unidentified animal, please email them to wildlife management. In your email, please include the photo(s), the approximate date, county and civil township of the photos. Wildlife management staff will work with others in the DNR and try to positively identify all photos sent in.
Please review Chapter NR 45 on conduct of visitors to state lands for the protection of our natural resources.
"Structures. Except as authorized by the department, no person may construct, place, occupy or use structures or store personal property on lands subject to this chapter. This paragraph does not apply to tents or canopies which are less than 100 square feet in area or other temporary structures which are used for recreational purposes and removed by 11:00 p.m. of the day they are placed on the property."
View some of the photos received in the Trail Camera Gallery .