Wildlife research staff specialize in a variety of fields, including wildlife population dynamics, monitoring, harvest projection and disease ecology, with expertise spanning the diversity of wildlife across the state.
Staff collaborates with universities, federal and state agencies, tribal partners and conservation groups across the state and country to help meet the DNR’s high-priority research needs. The wildlife research team also provides science participation opportunities through hunter, trapper, landowner and public volunteer programs.
Wildlife Research Studies
Goal: Provide the opportunity for the public to get involved in wildlife monitoring and provide data necessary for wildlife management decisions. Learn more about contributing to wildlife research with the Snapshot Wisconsin community.
Goal: Determine key reproductive parameters, such as litter size and frequency, in each bear management zone. Help the project by reporting occupied bear dens in fall and winter.
Goal: Estimate zone-specific population size of bears using a genetic-based spatial capture-recapture (SCR) estimator.
Goal: Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of various abatement measures for reducing agricultural damage by black bears.
Goal: Evaluate population-level impacts of various deer mortality factors, focusing on CWD impacts, and improve our understanding of deer/predator associations. Details are available on the project website.
Goal: Use available deer data to assess the current deer population monitoring framework and explore new models for improvement.
Goal: Estimate wildlife population sizes using trail cameras and evaluate their effectiveness compared to other methods of estimating populations.
Goal: Identify the causative disease agent(s) responsible for fatal pneumonia in wild white-tailed deer in Wisconsin, any potential link to chronic wasting disease and the potential importance to the deer population.
Goal: Describe changing patterns in the number of deer hunters, project future hunter numbers and examine the consequences of fewer deer hunters in terms of deer harvest.
Goal: Understand Wisconsin deer hunter perceptions of CWD and how hunter behaviors might affect the spread of CWD.
Goal: Uncover potential demographic drivers that influence population growth and identify the minimum viable population that can be sustainable.
Goal: Investigate the susceptibility of ruffed grouse to projected changes in winter variability.
Goal: Estimate accurate turkey recruitment metrics by pairing multiple monitoring methods, including GPS/radio-tracked turkeys and data collected from trail cameras.
Goal: Refine our understanding of the breeding origins of hunter-harvested mallards, ring-necked ducks and wood ducks from Wisconsin.
Goal: Evaluate duck productivity across a range of identified priority habitats and use empirical habitat use and selection data to inform future strategies.
Goal: To better understand the impacts of herbivory (grazing) of wild rice by Canada geese and trumpeter swans.
Goal: Evaluate and improve population monitoring protocols for furbearers, including survey methodology and analysis to provide robust annual and zone-specific population status assessments to support furbearer management decisions.
Goal: Characterize the impacts of beavers, beaver dam construction and beaver dam removal on cold water streams and trout populations in eco-regions and beaver management zones.
In addition to the research projects above, the Office of Applied Science also provides consultation services to the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. These consultation services are often in the form of population analyses, scientific design and analysis services and consultation on management issues to ensure the best possible scientific information is available to decision-makers.
The open dialogue between the Office of Applied Science and the Bureaus of Wildlife Management and Fisheries Management helps drive our research focuses so that research directly fills the research needs of decision-makers.