A nationwide evaluation of deer hunter harvest survey techniques

S. P. Rupp, W. B. Ballard, M. C. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Estimating annual harvests of deer (Odocoileus spp.) is an objective for all state wildlife agencies. Sound management requires frequent evaluation of these methods. We conducted a nationwide survey of state agencies to evaluate the efficiency of hunter harvest survey techniques. State agencies (96%, n=48) reported that they used check stations (56%, n=27), mail questionnaires (54%, n=26), report cards (19%, n=9), telephone surveys (13%, n=6), and toll-free telephone services (2%, n= 1) to estimate annual deer harvests. Agencies have attempted to increase response rates by increasing sample size, offering incentives, adding additional reporting options, redesigning forms, and increasing public relations efforts. Eighty-one percent (n=39) of state respondents used hunter survey data to estimate annual harvests, 40-44% of respondents used such data to track deer population trends, and >70% of respondents used survey data to establish hunting regulations. Each hunter harvest survey technique appeared to serve a specific function for each state. Annually, a minimum of $3.5 million was spent assessing deer harvests. Interpretation and application of survey results should incorporate knowledge of biases, advantages, and disadvantages inherent in each technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-578
Number of pages9
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Check station
  • Deer
  • Harvest
  • Mail questionnaire
  • Management
  • Odocoileus spp.
  • Report card
  • Survey
  • Telephone survey
  • Toll-free system


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