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August 10, 2010

MADISON - The first week of Operation Deer Watch, a program that asks citizens to report deer observations during the months of August and September, produced 818 observation reports, filed by 420 individuals, according to Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists monitoring the program.

"This is a great response for the first week of a new program," said Tom Hauge, director of the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management. "We welcome the extra eyes in the woods and appreciate the intense interest folks have in their natural resources and especially in the wildlife around them."

Reports have come in from all corners of the state," said Brian Dhuey, DNR research scientist, "we've received reports from 111 of our 139 DMUs (deer management units). DMU 77M (Milwaukee, and parts of Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Sheboygan, Racine, Kenosha and Manitowoc counties) has the most reports at 45, followed by DMU 64 (parts of Manitowoc, Calumet, Brown and Outagamie counties) with 29 reports."

"Operation Deer Watch is one of many volunteer efforts that can fit under the umbrella of citizen science," says Hauge. "For decades deer hunters have contributed to a huge volume of deer harvest data every time they registered their deer. Wisconsin has what is probably the most extensive record of deer sex, age and condition reports of any state in the country thanks to their efforts."

Each year, biologists use a formula to estimate deer populations. The formula includes the number of deer harvested from the hunting seasons, the percentage of yearling bucks and does harvested, the buck recovery rate, and a fawn-to-doe ratio to estimate the population in each deer management unit. Data from Operation Deer Watch will be used with DNR observations to help determine the fawn-to-doe ratio.

Another opportunity for deer hunters to contribute is by sending in a Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey. Started in 2009 the Deer Hunter Wildlife Observation Survey asks hunters to send in their observations of deer, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, red and gray fox, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, bear, otter, fisher, bobcat, house cat, badger, wolf, opossum, or other wildlife not normally seen in their area. Since deer hunters often spend many quiet observation hours in the woods, they can provide valuable information about species that are often very difficult to measure. In the first season, hunters filed reports covering approximately 20,000 hunting outings and 120,000 hours of observation. A summary of the 2009 season is available on the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey page of the DNR website.

The 2010 version of the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey starts Sept. 18, the first day of the 2010 archery deer season, ending Jan 23, 2011.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey - (608) 221-6342

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 10, 2010

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