State Wildlife Officials to Automate Deer Registration Data

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Deer managers across the state will spend less time sorting deer registration stubs this fall when for the first time all registration information provided by hunters will be sent to a single location for data entry.

“The changes will all be internal,” said Keith Warnke, DNR state deer and bear ecologist, “hunters will not be asked to do anything differently when they harvest and register a deer but this step will save significant amounts of biologists’ time during and immediately after deer hunting seasons close.

Since 1953, hunters have been required to register their harvested deer. Registration is the cornerstone of deer population management in Wisconsin. Until now biologists handled every registration stub several times as they sorted them by county, by management unit and by sex and then hand entered the information into a database. This old method is adequate to manage populations and record harvest but there is much more information on the registration stubs that biologists and hunters will find useful. With this new policy all stubs will be sent to a data entry contractor who will input all the information.

“As we go ‘high tech’ with our stub entry process, we’ll be able to understand the Wisconsin deer hunter and the seasons better than ever before,” said Tom Hauge, director of wildlife management at DNR. “Some folks may think we already capture all the information on the registration stubs but we don’t simply because of the sheer number of deer harvested each year and the limited time and staff available to do the work.

“As an example, recording the date of kill will allow us to accurately compare hunter success with weather events,” said Warnke. “It sounds simple but we’ve only been able to do this anecdotally in the past; now we’ll have actual data to analyze. Additionally, if the Earn-a-Buck season structure is used in the future, EAB pre-qualification will be issued for each antlerless deer harvested in those units where EAB is approved in subsequent seasons. In other words, a hunter could shoot an antlerless deer this year to earn his buck tag for the following year.”