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October 18, 2011

Wisconsin wildlife researchers ask for basic, valuable information in return

MADISON -- Wildlife researchers are looking for assistance from Wisconsin hunters who may harvest any of the more than 335 white-tailed deer marked with ear tags and radio-collars during the archery and gun-deer seasons.

The researches say hunters' help may play a role in how Wisconsin's white-tailed deer herd is managed for generations to come. That's a big impact for help that may take each hunter who harvests a marked deer only a few minutes to provide.

"These deer were marked back in January as part of a study to better understand how long deer live and how they die," said Chris Jacques, a research scientist with the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Science Services. "Hunters are free to harvest these marked deer. And if they do, we would like some basic information that shouldn't take more than a minute to provide."

The requested information about marked deer include:

Hunters are being asked to call Jacques at (608) 221-6358 to report this information.

Jacques and his colleagues marked the deer in the northern counties of Rusk, Sawyer and Price, and the east central counties of Shawano, Waupaca and Outagamie 10 months ago as part of the buck mortality study sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Stevens Point campuses, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Wildlife Restoration, Union Sportsmen's Alliance, Whitetails Unlimited, Applied Population Laboratory, Menn Law Firm, and private donations from Wisconsin citizens.

"To date, we have not heard from any hunters who may have harvested a tagged deer," Jacques said. "I do want to stress that you should treat these deer like any other you might see. They may be harvested, but the information that hunters provide is important to the future of our deer herd."

Jacques says researchers are monitoring weekly survival status of radio-collared deer across east central Wisconsin, including 42 adult males, 32 adult females, and 33 fawns. In the northern counties, researchers are monitoring the survival status of 44 adult males, 30 adult females, and 11 fawns.

While the DNR uses a deer population modeling system built upon sound science and data, Jacques says challenges remain.

"Years ago, the presence of predators of deer wasn't an unusual issue. However, that's changed today as predator populations across Wisconsin are expanding and deer are sought by more than just the orange-clad hunters," Jacques says. "Not only is this a wildlife issue, it is an economic issue - Wisconsin's tourism relies upon its healthy and abundant natural resources. Deer hunting season is part of that tourism industry, not to mention the heritage of the state. Our deer hunters have expressed concerns about the impact that predation may be having on deer population growth and recruitment rates across the state- they can be rest assured that the department is listening to their concerns and trying to better understand predation impacts with our ongoing collaborative research."

And this is where the hunters come in, Jacques says.

"There is no way we will be successful in our deer herd management without the hunters' participation," Jacques says. "And the research partners who make it possible for us to increase our ability to gather this key information."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Chris Jacques - (608) 221-6358 or Joanne Haas - (608) 267-0798

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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