Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Hears Update On Whitetails Deer Research

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Hears Update On Whitetails Deer Research

Wisconsin DNR
Wisconsin DNR

Madison, Wi – -(Ammoland.com)- Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank announced a major new initiative to improve the DNR’s population estimates for white-tailed deer. The information was presented today by wildlife management staff at a meeting of the Natural Resources Board.

“We have heard from hunters who are frustrated and skeptical about the DNR’s deer population estimates. In response to hunter and legislative concerns, we are taking action to improve the model for the deer population estimate, perform additional research, involve hunters more extensively in our efforts, and improve communication with the public on survey results and research findings. Many of these actions have been advocated by hunting organizations,” Frank said.

Frank announced actions, both short-term and long-term, that will include:

Fully implementing the recommendations of the 2006 Sex-Age-Kill model audit, including initiating a buck recovery rate study this year.
Partnering with the University of Wisconsin to do research and data analysis on buck mortality as well research on fawn mortality, including the roles of predators, habitat and weather, beginning with a study in 2011 in northwest Wisconsin.
Beginning this month, the DNR has begun an evaluation of an alternative deer population estimation technique called “distance sampling method” using aircraft. This study is being conducted in areas not previously surveyed with aircraft in both western and eastern Wisconsin. Helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft population surveys will continue in the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone in southern Wisconsin.
Working with the Minnesota and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to share insights from data and research projects in all three states regarding deer population trends and dynamics.
Hiring a researcher to review deer-vehicle collision data from salvage operators, Department of Transportation summaries of officer-investigated accidents, and insurance company data to assess usefulness and make recommendations as part of the population estimating process.
Invite hunting organizations to provide input and participate in DNR deer research and studies, and expand efforts to build a data base from hunters’ field observations from deer registration and observations reported on the DNR Web site.
Frank said that “the department will continue to work with the legislature regarding other suggestions, including bringing in an outside, independent third party to verify the accuracy of the data and math used in the preparation of deer population estimates.”

Frank added that the initiative to improve the DNR’s deer population estimate would not have been possible without a significant new investment of federal funds, over $2 million, through additional federal Pittman-Robertson funds allocated to the Wisconsin this year.

“While this is a significant sum, we believe that this is a worthwhile investment to improve the long-term management of a sustainable and healthy deer herd for generations to come,” Frank said.

The presentation to the NRB was made at the board’s Feb. 24 meeting in Madison. The presentation was video recorded and will be available online later today for viewing on the Wildlife pages of the DNR Web site.

A document received by the board, “Investing in Wisconsin’s Whitetails,” detailing past, present and future deer research and outreach efforts is also available online.

The department will be putting out a steady stream of information and updates for hunters and observers of deer and has a new Internet-based delivery system that allows citizens to receive the latest information at home in their email in the form of an alert that something of interest has been posted. Called GovDelivery, users can subscribe and unsubscribe as they wish at anytime and select from a list of subjects that they wish to monitor.

Hunters and others interested in deer can also attend a series of deer management unit information meetings scheduled around the state March 10-25. Meeting locations and times are also available on the DNR Web site.