GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Deer hunters heading into the woods this fall are encouraged to keep track of the wildlife they see.
To that end, participation in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources annual Wildlife Survey is easier than ever before.
For nearly a decade now, the DNR has asked hunters to record the number of deer and other animals they observe in the field.
Last fall, hunters logged nearly 10,000 trips into the woods, just a small fraction of the 600,000 deer hunters in the state.
"Some people I think are concerned that if I keep reporting the same deer over and over because I'm seeing them while I'm hunting that somehow that's going to add to the population estimate. It doesn't work that way. The wildlife survey the deer hunters are using just creates an index essentially of the hunter's experience, how many deer are hunters seeing per hour of effort," says DNR Regional Wildlife Biologist Jeff Pritzl.
Pritzl says a count is more important than ever, because it's a valuable tool for county deer advisory councils to use when establishing deer population objectives.
"What's nice about the deer hunter survey is that all hunters can participate in that, it's not just the successful hunters, and so it's a way of capturing everyone's experience," says Pritzl, "and the more people that participate, the better picture that paints for the advisory council."
And to make the survey easier than ever, hunters can now use an app.
"All done from the smartphone, right from the deer stand, so you don't have to wait, write it down on a piece of paper and then go to the computer and enter it in or mail it in, so we're trying to make it as user-friendly as possible," says Pritzl.
At the end of the survey, participants can receive a personalized summary of all the recorded wildlife from that season.
The survey period ends in January.