he opening of the archery deer season on Sept. 14 marks the beginning of the 2013 Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey.

“Deer hunters often ask if there is a way they can tell state wildlife officials what they are or are not seeing from their deer stand, this survey provides them with the means to do that” said Jay Watson, wildlife survey technician with the Department of Natural Resources.

“With the Deer Trustee report recommending more input from the hunting public on herd status, this tool provides the hunter with an excellent way to communicate their sightings,” Watson said. “All they need to do is record the date, number of hours, county, deer management unit, weather conditions, and the type and number of animals observed each day of deer hunting. Hunters can also enter their email address along with their observations and I will send them an email summary of their hunting activity at the end of the survey period.”

Hunters can find survey instructions, record sightings, and view survey results online at the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey page by searching the DNR website for “deer hunter wildlife.” A tally sheet is also available for times when hunters do not have access to a computer.

Wildlife officials ask that hunters record all of their hunting activity throughout the deer season, even if no wildlife sightings were made during a hunt. The survey period ends January 2014. These observations have provided the DNR with an index to abundance for many wildlife species.

Many other states in the Midwest and around the country use these types of surveys to gather hunter input into deer and other wildlife abundance.

This is the fifth year of the survey and deer hunters are asked to report their field observations of a variety of wildlife species, hunting conditions and hours spent pursuing game. This year 17,000 deer hunters were selected at random and sent a letter inviting them to participate in Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey. However, if you were not one of the hunters selected to participate we still encourage your participation to help provide insight into Wisconsin’s deer herd.

“Whether you hunt opening weekend or all season long, this extra monitoring of our state’s wildlife provides us with thousands of observations,” Watson said.

The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey overlaps another citizen-participation survey. Operation Deer Watch started Aug. 1 and runs through Sept. 30. The primary objective of Operation Deer Watch is to determine trends in deer reproductive success by reporting does and fawns seen together during the late summer and early fall.

Trail Camera Photos Wanted

The wildlife surveys program is also interested in photographs of rare or endangered species hunters may have captured on their trail cameras. Photos can be emailed to DNR Wildlife Management. This information will help document their existence and location within the state. Trail camera photos can be viewed the DNR online trail camera gallery.

Questions about the Wisconsin Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey, accessing the tally sheet, reporting your observation, or the results of the survey, can be referred to Jay Watson at 608-221-6360.

Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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