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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Deer Recruitment in Wisconsin: New Estimation Methods

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AUTHORS: Beth Wojcik, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Tim Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dan Storm, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: As the product of factors influencing reproduction and neonate survival, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) recruitment is the most variable component of deer herds. This variability applies both spatially and temporally as numerous density dependent and independent factors affecting recruitment change in relation to ecological location, weather, predation risk, deer density, and hunter harvests. Because of the numerous factors influencing recruitment, it can be difficult to untangle one specific cause for changes in observed measurements. In regions of Wisconsin, recruitment measurements have recently declined for unknown reasons. Traditional methods for measuring deer recruitment have involved herd composition counts from roadside surveys. The opportunistic and convenient nature of these surveys has likely resulted in small sample sizes and biased estimates. Our goal is to investigate new methods of surveying deer which may provide improved reliability and precision of recruitment estimates.  Research will occur during August and September of 2016 and 2017 in 10 counties representing 4 regions (Northern Forest, Central Forest, Central Farmland, and Southern Farmland) of Wisconsin. We standardized roadside surveys by establishing routes, training observers, and creating procedural protocols. Influence of habitat type, survey time, weather, and deer behavior on detectability, sample size, and precision was examined. Standardized roadside surveys in areas with good visibility and high deer populations (woodlots intermixed with hay/alfalfa/soybean fields) resulted in many deer observations, but few deer were observed in habitats with poor visibility from roadsides and low deer populations (heavily forested and corn-dominated landscapes). Methods providing improved estimates of recruitment will allow wildlife managers to better compare spatial and temporal differences of recruitment, monitor recruitment trends, and model population size.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (3)