July 31, 2012
MADISON -- In an ongoing effort involve the public in deer management and to effectively monitor and evaluate Wisconsin's deer herd, people can record and report online all bucks, does, and fawns they see in the wild from August 1 through September 30.
Summer deer observations have been a part of the Department of Natural Resources deer management program for more than 50 years, but in 2010 the agency started a unique collaboration with citizen scientists to collect data called Operation Deer Watch. The public observations along with DNR observations provide greater insight on the reproductive status of Wisconsin's deer herd. Since the survey's initiation in 2010, the DNR has received more than 7,000 citizen observations.
"This is an opportunity to be the daily eyes and ears for the deer herd in your area and to become personally involved and committed to the success of Wisconsin's deer herd," 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 number of deer seen and the number of fawns seen with each doe are indicators of annual deer herd production. Last summer, Operation Deer Watch generated more than 3,300 observations. A total of 4,004 deer were observed by 1,059 individual observers during August and September 2011. The statewide estimate for the 2011 fawn-to-doe ratio using Operation Deer Watch data was 93 fawns per 100 does.
Participating in the survey is simple. Beginning August 1 people record all bucks, does, and fawns seen during the day on a tally sheet and then enter those numbers online through September 30.
"It is important that all the 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," Dhuey said.
A report summarizing the results of each participants 2012 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, videos, and results of previous years, go to the DNR webpage and keyword search "deer watch," and click on the link for "online wildlife surveys."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey at 608-221-6342 or Jes Rees 608-221-6360