A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Purdue received a grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife in 2018 to fund the Integrated Deer Management research project.
Since then the team, led by FNR professor
Dr. Rob Swihart and including project coordinator
Pat McGovern and three PhD students, has been collecting data across the state with the goal of better informing white-tailed deer management in Indiana by integrating information on deer populations and habitat conditions with human attitudes/perceptions.
“Our team of researchers, which includes Purdue faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, has been working hard this past year to collect and analyze data from across the state,” McGovern said. “We are beginning our second year of data collection and are looking forward to furthering our understanding of deer and deer management. Our aim is to collect accurate data related to deer, as well as evaluate the methods used to collect that data, and, as a result, provide the DNR with improved information and/or tools to make their deer management decisions.”
In order to achieve their goal, the Integrated Deer Management Project (IDMP) will:
- Estimate deer populations and fawn recruitment across Indiana
- Develop region-specific population models
- Assess deer habitat condition and deer impacts to woodlands across Indiana
- Evaluate people’s awareness, perceptions and expectations of Indiana deer populations and how they are managed.
The project is utilizing a variety of techniques including remote camera surveys, infrared aerial surveys, fecal pellet counts, browse surveys, DNA barcoding, semi-structured interviews, and stakeholder surveys.
- More than 1 million photos have been captured by more than 280 trail cameras, while 832 miles of aerial surveys have been flown.
- More than 60 woodlots have been sampled with 1,800 oak seedlings being planted.
- More than 4,400 minutes of interviews have been conducted.
And all of that is just from year one.
The website will allow the project to share progress and plans for the future, while a twitter account (twitter.com/researchINdeer
) will offer more timely updates.