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Deer Management Survey

Surveys in wildlife management

The basis of fish and wildlife management in Indiana and throughout North America is the North American Model of Wildlife Management. Two parts of this model are that wildlife is held in the public trust for current and future generations, and sound science is the proper tool for managing wildlife. This often includes sociological sciences to determine public desires and biological sciences for managing populations. For the past several decades, DNR has incorporated the desires of hunters, landowners, and other stakeholders into deer management decisions. Wildlife is managed for the benefit of citizens and is not exclusively based on biological and ecological factors. Surveys are used to obtain sociological data.

Deer Management Survey

Since the early 1990s, DNR has conducted paper surveys of a random sample of hunters and landowners who earn at least half their income from the land. In 2018, DNR began conducting electronic surveys about deer management. These surveys gather opinions of deer management at the county and state levels, hunter opinions of different management options, and general comments on topics such as chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Who receives the survey?

All Indiana residents and non-resident hunters are eligible to participate in the Deer Management Survey.

The Deer Management Survey is emailed to individuals who have a valid email address tied to the DNR account used for purchasing a hunting and/or fishing license. Hunters who checked in a deer during the last three years and who have a valid email address associated with their account are also emailed the survey. Hunters using a hunting exemption should  create an online DNR account in order to participate in the surveys.

Create a DNR account and verify e-mail addresses at https://secure.in.gov/apps/dnr/portal/#/home

Survey recipients can opt out of future surveys.

What questions are asked?

Each year, survey participants are asked questions about:

  • participant demographics (location residence, age, gender)
  • hunting demographics (hunting location and frequency)
  • desired deer management goals (e.g., should DNR manage for large bucks or healthy deer)
  • observations of deer populations for the county where a participant lives and/or hunts (number and size of deer)

Special questions are also included at the end of the survey. These change yearly. In 2017, they focused on chronic wasting disease (CWD) knowledge and management (e.g., where does CWD occur, how should we manage for CWD).

A portion of the results from the survey can be found in the deer harvest summary.