Minnesota DNR’s 2023 Deer/Wildlife Survey Now Open

September 25, 2023 By: Amber Kornak

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is again encouraging deer hunters and the public to utilize their online log system to document any deer and other wildlife sightings. This log gives hunters the opportunity to share their daily observations of deer and other wildlife they see in the field. The Minnesota DNR uses the information to supplement population estimates, which are an important tool for managing wildlife.

Using a mobile device or desktop computer, deer hunters can enter information on the Minnesota DNR website about wildlife they see while in the field including deer, turkey, bear, fisher and other species. Minnesota DNR is also encouraging hunters to fill out a report after each hunt even if they don’t see any deer that day. Filling out a report even if no deer are observed is important as it allows for an accurate estimate of the number of deer observed per hour of field observations.

The log is currently available to use and will remain open through the end of the year. The Minnesota DNR will report results from hunters’ observations in an annual research summary online. To view the results from 2022 and previous hunter observation survey results, click here. The Minnesota DNR first developed a version of this survey following a 2016 report from the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor requesting more checks of the model used to estimate deer populations for each deer permit area. The observation surveys are a way to compare hunter-provided data with Minnesota DNR population estimates.

The National Deer Association (NDA) is encouraging our Minnesota members to participate in this community science approach. The Minnesota DNR works with hunters to establish deer population goals for areas throughout the state. Each year, wildlife managers use deer population estimates generated by mathematical models to figure out what level of deer harvest will move a local deer population closer to goal. Hunter engagement is vital to accurate and successful deer management programs.

About Amber Kornak:

Amber Kornak is a Policy Intern with the National Deer Association. She received her bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Oregon State University. She has 8 years of wildlife experience working with big game animals such as bears, deer and elk. Amber is an outdoor enthusiast currently residing in Northwest Montana.