I am one of you.
I am among the thousands of you who hunt deer and turkey with archery equipment.
I want you to join me once again in voluntarily participating Nebraska’s Bowhunter Survey. Bowhunter survey? Hmmm … Another survey? Yes!
So why should you, an archery deer hunter, consider maintaining a diary and counting free-ranging, wild deer and turkeys for us at Game and Parks?
The answer: Because, like me, I know you passionately care about wildlife.
Think about it, bowhunting comrades. We spend innumerable hours in the field bowhunting for deer. We see a lot of wild animals and birds. We see a lot of deer and turkeys. We are selective with what we shoot and thoroughly enjoy what I call “sit, kneel or stand sessions,” patiently watching the surrounding landscape, waiting for the right deer to approach, whether from a treestand, blind or optimum vantage point.
So why log counts of deer and turkeys? Does it really matter?
“This survey is very important to us and is entirely dependent on public participation,” said Luke Meduna, Big Game Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “We need our Nebraska bowhunters to be our eyes and ears in the field and document what they see. We sincerely appreciated those who took part in it last year. I hope we can get even more bowhunters involved this year!”
The 2020 survey results can be viewed at this link: http://outdoornebraska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020BowhunterSurveySummary_Final.pdf
Meduna explained, “The data from the bowhunter survey will help us to better understand doe-to-fawn and buck-to-doe ratios as well as establish a baseline for population trends regarding white-tailed and mule deer and wild turkeys.”
“We would be extremely grateful for assistance by any licensed bowhunter with this project, and this survey will give them the opportunity to be part of the process for deer and turkey management,” added Meduna.
The survey is currently underway and runs to the start of the regular firearm deer hunting season, Nov. 13.
But, why not carry the survey through November and December? “When you get into November, fawns become difficult to separate from the does and yearlings, and hunting tactics of the November firearm season aren’t as standardized as they are during the archery season” Meduna pointed out, “so we will wrap things up at that point.”
Establishing reliable, long-term indices are crucial for making informed decisions on the management of harvested game species like deer and turkey. A hunter observation survey such as this is citizen-science at its best. It provides a wealth of quality information and metrics for wildlife biologists on a broad spatial scale or even on a more localized one at a low-cost option.
And to help keep those costs low, simple data entry by bowhunters for this survey is available over the Internet at http://outdoornebraska.gov/bowhuntersurvey/. Bookmark that on your phone browser, iPad or PC and enter your information after each hunting session.
Hunter observation surveys are in use by several natural resource conservation agencies. (E.g. Iowa DNR’s Bowhunter Observation Survey) as a well-grounded means for gathering data to monitor wildlife population trends and dynamics.
The bowhunter survey is yet another tool in the toolbox that will go in concert with other deer and turkey surveys in Nebraska to develop effective management strategies and hunting seasons.
The success of the survey rests with us, the Nebraska bowhunters! Remember, your facts will make a real difference to wildlife conservation.