Hunters have submitted more than 1,100 deer observations for the 2012 Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey since the survey began in September, which state wildlife officials say will be added to previous year’s data to better track population changes and improve management decisions.

“Deer season is a treasured time of year for many Wisconsinites,” says Brian Dhuey, a wildlife research scientists with the Department of Natural Resources. “It’s a time to get back into the outdoors and relieve the stresses of everyday life. But now we’re asking hunters to take those traditions one step further and become involved with deer management.”

Since 2009, DNR researchers have encouraged Wisconsin’s deer hunters to record deer and other wildlife seen while deer hunting via the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey, which is designed to provide information on long-term trends for the 17 selected wildlife species.

The 2012 data will be added to the previous three years, and as data accumulates, Dhuey says, DNR staff will be able to better track population changes and improve management decisions. This survey can also gather information on animals that are very hard to monitor thus saving the DNR time and money.

Since the survey began in September, the more than 1,100 observations reported included 448 bucks, 1,040 does, 710 fawns, and 202 unknowns. Deer seen per hour varies widely by region, with the high being the Eastern Farmland (0.79 deer per hour) and the low being the Southern Farmland (0.53 deer per hour). Turkeys, raccoons, and ruffed grouse are the next most commonly seen animals while hunting.

The survey period continues into January 2013. Keyword search “deer hunter wildlife” on the Wisconsin DNR homepage [dnr.wi.gov] for more information, print the tally sheet, and view results of previous years. Keep track of your observations on the tally sheet and then enter them online through January 2013. Individuals that provide their email address – which must be provided at the bottom of every form submitted – will receive a personalized summary of their 2012 deer hunting season.

Even with thousands of Wisconsin hunters in the woods this fall, the ‘eyes’ hunters often rely on are trail cameras. Trail cameras have captured hundreds of interesting or rare animals across the state, even documenting range expansion of some species.

“Many of the photographs we’ve received have been posted to our trail camera gallery,” Dhuey says. “We ask that you please continue to send in these photos!”

The trail camera gallery can be accessed through the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey webpage. Take a moment to view some of the photos or watch a video. Check back often, the site is updated as soon as new photos are received.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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