Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
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Buck Harvest Densities
 
 
   View registration densities of the adult buck harvest per square mile. Data includes bow, crossbow, gun, muzzleloader, and tribal harvests For additional Information….
 
  
 
Background
These summaries are data collected from hunter registered deer on a yearly basis. Data are for all legal bucks (3 inch or more antler) for all weapon types and seasons unless otherwise specified. Deer registered by tribal hunters are included in the summary. Area is the total area of the unit.
 
Collection and analysis methods
Mandatory in-person deer harvest registration was in place in Wisconsin since the 1953 deer season. Season of kill, location of kill, deer type and weapon used are what has normally collected. In-person registration was mandatory through the 2014 season. Starting in 2015, successful hunters are still required to register a deer, but are allowed to register their deer either via the phone, online, or at voluntary cooperative business that provided a computer station or telephone open to the public. Chronic wasting disease sample collection stations also allow hunters to register their deer at the time of sampling.
 
Using the metric
While data on county of kill was collected prior to the implementation of the Deer Trustee Report, many counties had multiple deer management units within their borders. These multiple units could and did have varied seasons, antlerless permit levels, and harvest goals. Because of this, comparison of harvest data prior to 2014 and beyond should be done with caution.

Results can and do fluctuate from year to year as deer densities, permit levels, weather, rule changes, season length, hunter selection, and hunter efforts change. Comparing yearly variations may have some value, while comparing year to year variations to the long-term mean or long-term trend will more likely produce more meaningful and reliable results.
 
Limitations and precautions
Registration of harvested deer has been the backbone of all deer surveys done by the DNR. Accurate and reliable harvest data has provided the DNR with a means to measure many different aspects of deer and hunters in the state. Missing or incomplete records are sometimes a problem for early years of data. The effects of weather, deer abundance, season length, permit issuance, and hunter attitudes all play a role in harvest, but the extent of the effect is unknown and not measured. Since moving to electronic registration it will be important to measure and monitor hunter compliance with this new methodology.
 
Future needs
Measures of registration compliance will be important as we continue with e-registration. Increasing response rates and increasing volunteerism will also produce more reliable results at a finer scale. Finding innovative ways to record hunter effort and sightings using mobile devices will aid in the collection of result in a timely fashion.
 
Additional background materials related to this metric
Most harvest and hunter survey reports are available for viewing on the Wisconsin DNR website dnr.wi.gov keyword “wildlife reports"
 

 
Adult Bucks per Sq. Mile
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For questions on this deer metric data contact:
Kevin Wallenfang 608-261-7589 Kevin.Wallenfang@wisconsin.gov