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Operation Deer Watch seeking WI citizen participation

From Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

-- In an ongoing effort involve the public in deer management and effectively monitor and evaluate Wisconsin’s deer herd, people can record and report online all bucks, does, and fawns they see in the wild throughout August until Sept. 30.

Summer deer observations have been a part of the DNR deer management program for more than 50 years.

In 2010 the agency started a unique collaboration with citizen scientists to collect data through Operation Deer Watch. Public observations along with DNR reports provide greater insight on the reproductive status of Wisconsin’s deer herd. Since the survey’s initiation in 2010, more than 7,000 citizen observations have been recorded.

“The results from Operation Deer Watch become more meaningful as we gather many years of summer deer observations and can monitor production trends,” said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife surveys researcher.

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, and reporting is done online at

Citizens record all bucks, does, and fawns seen during the day on a tally sheet and then enter those numbers online beginning in August through Sept. 30.

“It is important that all the information be filled out for each observation,” Dhuey said. “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.”

A report summarizing the results of each participant’s 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, contact Brian Dhuey at (608)221-6342 or Jes Rees (608)221-6360.

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