DNR urges participation in Operation Deer Watch

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 2:17 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -With the pandemic limiting the amount of time Department of Natural Resources staff are on the road right now, they’re asking for the public’s help in observing deer.

According the wildlife biologists, one of the most important metrics in monitoring the deer population is annual fawn production.

“One of the easiest ways to measure that is how many fawns are being produced for every doe and how many of those fawns are making it into the fall,” says Jeff Pritzl, DNR District Wildlife Supervisor.

And every year at this time, it’s all hands on deck within the DNR.

“All DNR staff are charged with, for the month of August and September, recording every deer that we see during daylight hours,” says Pritzl.

But this year, COVID-19 is severely limiting the number of miles DNR employees are on the road.

And that’s where Operation Deer Watch comes in.

“This year more than ever, it’s welcome to have citizen science to take place, citizen science is growing in lots of different ways where people are wanting to take their recreational wildlife watching and turn it into something meaningful,” says Pritzl.

Pritzl says once you’re on the Operation Deer Watch page on the DNR’s website, you’ll find all the information you need to take part.

Data received will be used to help shape future harvest goals and deer management plans in each county.

“Once you know what we’re asking for you just keep track of it in a notebook in your car, or on your phone, type yourself little notes when you’re parked or when you get home, and then you can go on the website and make an entry and we’ll be looking for what day, what location, and what type of deer and how many of them,” says Pritzl.

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