Skip to main content

Contact: Brian Dhuey, DNR Surveys Coordinator or 608-219-8496

Help Benefit Wisconsin Wildlife By Completing Citizen-Science Surveys For Deer & Birds

Deadlines Are Aug. 31 & Sept. 30

white tail deer Help the DNR survey deer and game birds across Wisconsin. Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking the public’s help in collecting crucial deer and game bird management data. 

Starting Aug. 1, the DNR will begin conducting the Operation Deer Watch Survey and the Game Bird Brood Survey.

The surveys are designed to measure the reproductive status for deer and game birds. This is done by establishing a fawn to doe ratio for deer and a poult to hen ratio for game birds. These ratios are then compared to previous years data and tells us how productive this seasons deer herd/game birds are.

Information provided by the public on the distribution and reproductive status when paired with harvest information are the key elements that allow the DNR to make knowledgeable management decisions for these species.

“Wherever you are in Wisconsin, you can help the DNR manage wildlife by collecting data in your neighborhood and submitting it through our app,” said Brian Dhuey, DNR Surveys Coordinator. “Every submission increases our dataset and gives us a clearer picture of how wildlife are doing in Wisconsin. The DNR encourages everyone interested in wildlife, from hunters and trappers to outdoor enthusiasts, to take part."

The deadline to submit bird observations for the Game Bird Brood survey is Aug. 31. The deadline to submit deer observations for the Operation Deer Watch Survey is Sept. 30.

Participation in both Operation Deer Watch Survey and the Game Bird Brood Survey is simple, requires no registration and can be done using a mobile device. If in a vehicle, participants should only record sightings when their vehicle is stopped, not while driving.


Operation Deer Watch Members of the public can report location, deer type and the number of deer seen from dawn to dusk during the summer months. This information helps to determine the fawn-to-doe ratio and ultimately deer population estimates. More information is available here.

Game Bird Brood Observations Members of the public can collect information on the types and number of game bird broods they observe during the summer months. This information is a basis for monitoring the reproduction of game birds for that breeding year.

More information is available here.

** Do NOT use the app while driving! **