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Deer Management & Reports

Deer Management Goal

In May 2017, DNR adopted a new five-year management goal to “focus deer herd management in a strategically targeted manner to more adequately balance ecological, recreational, and economic needs of the citizens of Indiana.” This would allow DNR the ability to examine each county or similar area independently to determine the desired direction of the deer herd size. Based on the success of that goal, we will continue to use that as our deer management goal.

With this goal in mind, DNR is developing population models that are sensitive to changes in deer densities, obtaining data on the opinions of individuals who have an interest in deer management, understanding the effects of deer on their habitat, and integrating that information in a model to make recommendations for deer densities and set bag limits. Specifically, DNR will work to obtain deer population data using a combination of conventional distance sampling and spatially explicit models that will provide sub-county estimates of deer populations throughout Indiana using a combination of drones, crewed aircraft, and remote cameras. We will continue to use an annual deer management survey to understand attitudes and desires regarding county-level deer densities and bag limits. Finally, DNR will develop and incorporate ecological data related to deer densities throughout the state using standardized methods to measure woody stem density and diversity on both public and private land. Once DNR has developed trends from each of these data, we will work to develop specific deer densities objectives throughout the state at the finest scale possible.

Annual Deer Management Survey

The Deer Research Program has developed an online survey that will allow the DNR to survey all hunters and non-hunters with internet access on a yearly basis to help monitor observed trends in deer populations and to assess desires for deer management. Any individual with a DNR account can provide input on a regular basis. Customers who purchase licenses will receive an invitation to complete surveys in their email. However, 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 surveys.

Any Indiana residents or hunters hunting on various exemptions who would like to receive a survey should visit the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Online Services page and ensure their contact information is correct, including email address, or open an account if one does not already exist.

View Survey Results

After-Hunt Survey

The After-Hunt Survey is used to collect both biological data about deer and sociological data about deer hunters. Hunters fill out the survey immediately after harvesting and checking in their deer. Hunters provide information about the number of deer observed, how many deer were observed but not shot, and their opinion about the number and quality of deer observed. Hunters also provide specific information about their deer, including the location where it was harvested, age, lactation, and antler characteristics, as well as opinion data about the hunting experience. This partnership between DNR and Indiana’s hunters will be beneficial because it will provide DNR with large amounts of data to more accurately manage the deer herd, and it will help hunters better understand  the deer herd where they hunt.


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