Mississippi Bowhunters, Deer Count Help Needed

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Hunter observation data can provide the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) with an index for monitoring deer populations in Mississippi. These data allow estimation of buck:doe ratios and fawn:doe ratios across the state. However, this data can only be acquired with the help of hunters throughout Mississippi.

The MDWFP asked bowhunters to complete and return observation books for the past two years, but the number of books returned was low, providing estimates that cannot be considered accurate statistically. We are still attempting to acquire a list of volunteers to record all deer observations during archery season. Archery season was selected because the deer herd has less disturbance then and fewer deer have been removed from the population.

We must have data from multiple years and all 82 counties in order for it to be most useful. In 2004 and 2005, observation books were returned from 54 and 27 counties, respectively. These data were averaged for each year, and statewide estimates were produced. An accurate county-wide average is not available due to the number of counties lacking data and the low number of returned books from some counties. The results from each year follow. Remember, these data can not be considered accurate statistically due to the low return rate.

54 counties reporting
2.85 does per 1 buck
0.56 fawns per 1 doe
1.02 hours hunted per 1 deer observed

27 counties reporting
2.28 does per 1 buck
0.66 fawns per 1 doe
0.98 hours hunted per 1 deer observed

Bowhunters, the MDWFP needs your help. We would like to have multiple observations from each county. This would allow us to generate an accurate statewide estimate, as well as accurate county-wide estimates. To complete the observation book, we ask that you record all deer observed during the early archery season. Each deer is recorded as 1-3 points, 4-7 points, 8+ points, doe, fawn, or unknown. Also record the date, total hours spent hunting, and the county where the observation occurred. On the inside cover of the book, record your name and address. You will be added to a list of observation volunteers and will be mailed an observation book annually. Every hunter who completes an observation book will receive a copy of the annual Deer Data Book after the observation book is returned. The Deer Data Book will contain observation results from the previous year, as well as a multitude of deer data from Mississippi.

To receive an observation book, you may download it from our website at www.mdwfp.com or you may email William T. McKinley at williamm@mdwfp.state.ms.us with your request. Also, you may mail your request to:
Attn: Deer Observation Book
1505 Eastover Drive
Jackson, MS 39211-6374

Thank you for you willingness to assist the MDWFP in collecting this data. Have a safe season, and take a kid hunting. They are the future of the sport.