From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
-- Eight weeks into the 2010 deer hunting seasons, deer sightings are up slightly over 2009 in most areas of the state, according to early returns from the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey.
With the archery season in full swing, and the opening of the 2010 gun deer season only a few days away, 797 Wisconsin hunters have sent in reports from 3,026 hunting trips to the online survey. Trips were reported from all 72 counties in the state, and in 124 of 139 deer management units. Hunters reported spending 14,577 hours in the field, and averaged 4.5 hours per trip.
"Thanks to all the hunters who have sent in reports," said Keith Warnke, big game ecologist. "This is valuable information that will become more valuable as the years go by and we can begin to track any trends in wildlife abundance and range.
Preliminary results from 2010 are available on the Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey page at http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/harvest/survey.htm. Final results from the 2009 season can be found there as well. Periodically during the deer season the department will publish up-to-date deer observation numbers giving hunters a good snapshot of what they and others are seeing in their hunting area.
"For this kind of survey the more reports the better, so please consider participating and send in a report or multiple reports. We publish this information online where hunters can easily access it and use it to their advantage in planning their hunting strategy."
The survey asks deer hunters to report their hunting activity and share their observations of deer, raccoon, skunk, porcupine, red and gray fox, turkey, ruffed grouse, coyote, bear, otter, fisher, bobcat, house cat, badger, wolf, opossum, elk or any other wildlife seen where they hunt.
Other than deer, turkeys were the most frequently observed species followed by ruffed grouse.
Deer hunters have reported 1,444 bucks, 1,949 does, 1,376 fawns and 503 unknowns.
Statewide, hunters averaged 0.36 deer seen per hour. Deer seen per hour varied between regions with the high being the Western Farmland averaging 0.51 deer per hour and the low being the Central Forest averaging 0.15 deer per hour. The Northern Forest and Southern Farmland reported 0.32 and 0.35 deer per hour, respectively. Hunters in the Eastern Farmland saw 0.46 deer per hour.
This year hunters can get a summary of their hunting activity and observations at the end of the survey period by providing an email address when they log their hunting activity. The DNR will send them a summary at the end of survey period.
This year, 243 individuals have supplied an email address to have a summary of their observations e-mailed to them at the end of the survey period. For more information, contact Keith Warnke at (608) 264-6023.