DNR Welcomes Citizen Reports for ‘Deer Watch" Program


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is again asking citizens to help estimate the deer herd. The “Deer Watch” program is in its third year and the agency says it’s helping get a better handle on how many deer live in the state.

For more than 50 years DNR staff, like wardens, foresters and wildlife managers were asked to report how many deer they saw in the woods. That only amounted to about 250 to 500 people.

Since 2010 the agency started taking reports from anyone who cared to report a sighting. Last year, Deer Watch garnered 3,300 reports of 4,000 deer.

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That’s according to Brian Dhuey, the wildlife survey database coordinator, “In the past people say, ‘how can we help? How can we help?’ Registering a deer is probably one of the biggest deer surveys we do in the state of Wisconsin. This is another way for them to participate in deer management in the state.”

The data is used to compile an index of reproduction, basically a ratio of fawns to does. Still Dhuey says people are asked to report any deer they see, even bucks, “It’s an index to reproduction. We’ve been doing this data collection for a long, long time and the more does that have fawns–or the higher the fawn to doe ration–the better the production was that year. Thus the more animals that are entering the population.”

Dhuey believes the last two years of citizen reporting is trustworthy because it coincides with the years of DNR employee data.

Information can be reported directly to the Deer Watch section of the DNR’s website.