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Total Deer Harvest History




Fawn to doe ratios collected in late summer give information on fawn recruitment and survival and are used as an input into the formula for annual deer herd abundance estimation. Fawn to doe ratios were summarized using groups of county deer management units. County deer management units were grouped based on location, habitat characteristics, and deer demography.
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The yearling doe percentage is an input into the formula that is used to estimate the deer population size by deer management unit (DMU). In the formula, the ratio of the yearling doe percent to the yearling buck percent is used to estimate the adult sex ratio and provide an estimate of the number of does in the population prior to harvest. The proportion of yearling does among adult does is a good estimator of the rate at which adult deer are being added to the population and this metric is relatively unaffected by harvest rate.




Collection and analysis methods


Aging data of the harvested antlered deer is needed to estimate yearling doe percent. With the move to electronic registration, aging of harvested deer is primarily accomplished by DNR staff in cooperation with deer processors receiving harvested deer from hunters. At the deer processors, deer are aged based on teeth wear and replacement patterns and it is straightforward to age yearlings (1.5 years old) from older adults (>2.5 years old). In addition, aging data are collected from deer submitted for chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling. Yearling doe percentage is a calculation of the number of yearling does (1.5 years old) divided by the total number of adult does (>= 1.5 years old).




The 3year average shows the trend in yearling doe percent. Yearling doe percentage is primarily used as an input into the formula for estimation of herd size at the DMU level. Yearling doe percentage correlates to the rate at which deer are being added to the population. The DMUlevel yearling doe percent with 95% confidence intervals is only available since 2017 and is an input into the formula used to estimate population size for each DMU.




Limitations and precautions


The number of does aged is variable across DMUs and it is difficult to get very large sample sizes in some areas, and especially in DMUs with zero or low antlerless quotas.




Continued work is needed to maintain and increase aging samples of harvested deer now that electronic registration is in place.




Additional background materials related to this metric


The whitetailed deer population status report is available for viewing on the Wisconsin DNR website dnr.wi.gov keyword “wildlife reports” and there is reference to the use of the yearling doe percentage in the deer population estimates.








Total Deer Harvest 1960  Present




Total Buck Harvest 1960  Present

Historic High: 2000  212,332 Historic Low: 1960  33,074






