July 26, 2011
MADISON - Wildlife researchers are asking hunters and wildlife watchers to continue sending in summer deer observations during August and September.
In 2010, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources launched Operation Deer Watch, a new summer deer observation effort involving outdoor enthusiasts and hunters. Summer deer observations have been part of DNR deer management program for more than 50 years but until last season only staff observations and those of other resource and law enforcement professionals were recorded.
The number of deer seen with and without fawns are indicators of annual deer herd production. Data from Operation Deer Watch will be used with DNR observations to help determine the fawn-to-doe ratio. The vast amount of observation data that citizens can provide will help the wildlife biologists effectively and accurately monitor Wisconsin's deer reproduction.
"We ask that you continue to participate in this important survey by taking the time to document information about your summer deer observations," said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife surveys researcher. "The results from Operation Deer Watch become more meaningful as we gather many years of summer deer observations and can monitor production trends."
The department is interested in sightings of bucks, does and fawns. Last summer, Operation Deer Watch generated more than 4,000 observations. A total of 9,662 deer were observed by 1,378 individual observers during August and September 2010. The statewide estimate for the 2010 fawn-to-doe ratio using Operation Deer Watch data was 89 fawns per 100 does.
To participate in the survey, go to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website and keyword search "operation deer watch." Once on the web page, watch the video survey instructions and then click on the link to the survey to record your sightings. A tally sheet (pdf) is available to record information about deer observations when people do not have access to computers.
Dhuey says it is important that all information be filled out for each observation.
"Please ensure that the date, deer management unit, and the type and number of deer observed are recorded, without this information the data are of little value," he says.
The survey period begins August 1 and continues until Sept. 30. A report summarizing the results of your 2011 deer observations will be produced at the end of the survey period and sent to all individuals who enter their email address on every observation form.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey at (608) 221-6342 or Jes Rees at (608) 221-6360