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September 14, 2010

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey will go live online beginning Sept. 18, the opening day of the 2010 archery deer seasons.

This will be the second year of the survey which asks deer hunters to report their field observations of a variety of wildlife species, hunting conditions and hours spent pursuing game. Deer hunters' first-year efforts produced valuable information for documenting distribution of many of Wisconsin's wildlife species. Results from 2009 (pdf) are available on the Department of Natural Resources website.

The Hunter Wildlife Survey overlaps another citizen-participation survey currently underway. Operation Deer Watch started Aug 1 and runs through Sept. 30. The primary objective of Operation Deer Watch is to collect more information on trends in deer reproductive success by reporting does and fawns seen together during the late summer and early fall.

"Deer hunters are an excellent source of information as they spend many quiet observation hours in the woods," said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife surveys and database manager. "They can provide hard to obtain information about species that are often very difficult to measure. Along with deer, the wildlife species we are most interested in are raccoon, skunk, porcupine, red and gray fox, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, bear, otter, fisher, bobcat, house cat, badger, wolf, opossum, and other wildlife not normally seen in your area. Results will only become even more meaningful as we gather many years of wildlife observations for each species."

During the 2009 archery and gun deer hunting seasons, approximately 20,000 hunting trips encompassing 120,000 observation hours were reported via the online survey. Statewide, hunters averaged 0.19 deer seen per hour hunted. Deer seen per hour varied between regions with the high being the Western Farmland region averaging 0.31 deer per hour hunted and the low being the Central and Northern Forest regions averaging 0.14 deer per hour hunted. Turkeys and ruffed grouse were the next most frequently seen animals.

Hunters reported hunting activity in 136 of the state's 140 deer management units and all 72 counties. Deer sightings changed as the season progressed, they increased to a peak during the week of October 3-9, then generally fell weekly to a low during the weeks of Nov. 28 through Dec. 4, then rose again to the end of the deer hunting season. Average deer observations per hour were at the second to lowest rate during the first week of the nine-day gun deer season.

Hunters can find survey instructions, record sightings, and view the 2009 survey results on the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey page of the DNR website. A tally sheet is also available for times when hunters do not have access to the internet or a computer. Hunters should record all of their hunting activity throughout the deer season, even if no wildlife sightings were made. The survey period begins September 18 and runs through the late archery deer hunting season.

"We ask that all deer hunters please consider participating in this survey effort," said Dhuey. "All they need to do is record the date, number of hours, county, deer management unit, weather conditions, and the type and number of animals observed during each day of deer hunting. New for the 2010 survey, hunters can enter their email address along with their observations and I will send them an email summary of their hunting activity at the end of the survey period. "

Trail Camera photos wanted

The Wildlife Surveys group is also interested in photographs of rare or endangered species hunters may have captured on their trail cameras. This information will help document their existence and location within the state.

"Pictures of elk, moose, Canada lynx, cougar, American marten, stone marten, wolverine, Franklin's ground squirrel, and badger are most sought after, but any picture of an animal not normally seen in your hunting area or an unidentified animal is welcomed," says Dhuey. Pictures can be emailed along with the approximate date, county and civil township of the photo to DNR wildlife staff will try to positively identify all photographs submitted. A gallery of last year's trail camera photos can be viewed in the DNR trail camera gallery.

Questions about the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey, accessing the tally sheet, reporting your observation, or the results of the survey, can be referred to Brian Dhuey [] at (608) 221-6342 or Jes Rees [] at (608) 221-6360.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact: Brian Dhuey at (608) 221-6342 or Jes Rees at (608) 221-6360.

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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