What is the Archer’s Index?
The Archer’s Index is a survey that relies on volunteer bowhunters to report wildlife observations while they are afield in the fall. This information is useful to biologists because bowhunters often spend several hours a day over multiple days during October and early November sitting quietly, during which time they may see a variety of wildlife. There are currently 14 species reported through the Archer’s Index survey, including birds like wild turkeys and pheasants, and mammals such as gray squirrels, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, bobcats, and white-tailed deer.
What do biologists do with this data?
The Archer’s Index does not count animals or give population estimates. It provides trends by calculating observations/1,000 hours afield. For instance, during the 2015 survey, bowhunters reported seeing 689 deer for every 1,000 hours they spent hunting. We can compare this to information from other years to see if more, less, or the same amount of deer are being seen in the same amount of hunt hours, to track deer trends.
This survey also provides other valuable data like fawn:doe and buck:doe ratios to help manage white-tailed deer populations as well as documenting occurrences of expanding species like bobcats.
How can I help?
If you are planning to bowhunt deer in Indiana during October and November, you are welcome to volunteer using the form below. Observations are generally collected from Oct. 1 to the day before the gun season opens. Volunteers can be planning to hunt any number of days during that time; there is no minimum number of days hunted required. Forms and instructions will be mailed to volunteers. Sign up anytime, but the study period runs from Oct. 1 to the day before gun deer season.
Find previous Archer’s Index reports on the wildlife reports page.