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Two New Surveys for Deer Hunters

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More hunters and other Indiana residents who have an interest in deer management can now make their opinions known to the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) more frequently because of the DFW’s increased online resources.

The DNR has been incorporating opinions of hunters and landowners into management decisions through surveys since the early 1990s. However, in past years, only a random selection of hunters and landowners could be surveyed because of the high cost and logistics of paper surveys. Many hunters complained they never received a survey and felt their opinion was not being heard. Now, anyone with a DNR account can provide input on a regular basis through the new Indiana Deer Management Survey.

Hunters and anglers who purchase licenses on a regular basis will be emailed an invitation to complete the survey. Hunters who use a landowner exemption or have a lifetime license should make a special effort to create an online account with the DNR to ensure they receive the various surveys, as should any Indiana residents or hunters hunting on various exemptions. This can be done at the secure link at INHuntFish.com, where you can verify or correct your existing contact information, including email address, or open an account.

The DFW has also incorporated a second survey into deer management—the After Hunt Survey. This survey was tested during the 2017-2018 hunting season to collect biological data about deer and sociological data about deer hunters regarding a single hunt. Hunters complete the survey immediately after harvesting and checking in their deer. Hunters are asked about the number of deer seen, how many were seen but not shot, and their opinion about the number and quality of deer seen. Hunters are also asked for specific information about their deer, including the location of harvest, age, lactation and antler characteristics, as well as opinion data about the hunting experience.

The goal is to have 50 to 100 hunters fill out this survey for each county (depending upon the level of harvest in that county) to ensure that the data are representative for each county. There is no maximum number of hunters who can participate in the survey in each county. Having more hunters participate in the survey in each county will ensure that the data collected for the county are more representative of the county’s deer population. Results for each county that achieves the minimum sample sizes will be reported each year on a county-by-county basis in the annual White-tailed Deer Report.

This partnership between DFW and Indiana hunters will provide DFW with large amounts of data that should allow for more accurate management of the deer herd and help hunters understand more about the deer herd where they hunt.