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Minnesota DNR invites deer hunters to share wildlife observations this season

Lead Summary

An online questionnaire will make it easier for Minnesota deer hunters to report wildlife they see during their hunts this year.
Using a mobile device or desktop computer, hunters can enter information on the DNR website about wildlife they see each day of hunting, including deer, turkeys, bears, fishers and other species. They’ll also be able to report specific information about any deer they harvest, including antler size.
Hunters are encouraged to fill out a report after each hunt even if they don’t see any deer that day. The questionnaire will be available when archery deer season begins Saturday, Sept. 19, and remain open through the end of the year.
Data from the observation survey will provide a helpful comparison to the DNR’s population estimates for various species.
This new questionnaire expands on a survey the DNR has made available to bow hunters for the past three years. In that survey, 1,412 bow hunters responded in 2017, 1,691 responded in 2018 and 2,180 responded last year. Now, the DNR is aiming to increase participation by allowing all deer hunters to participate.
The DNR developed the bow hunter survey following a 2016 report from the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor requesting more checks of the population model used to estimate deer populations for each deer permit area. The surveys are a way to compare hunter-provided data with DNR population estimates.
The DNR has deer population goals for areas throughout the state and the public has regular opportunities to provide input. Each year, wildlife managers use deer population estimates to figure out what level of deer harvest will move a local deer population closer to goal. The DNR then sets hunting regulations using past hunter participation and success rates, with the aim of harvest at a level that moves the population toward goal.

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