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Research IN Deer

Integrated Deer Management Project

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Research IN Deer

Integrated Deer Management Project

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Research IN Deer

Integrated Deer Management Project

Research IN Deer

Integrated Deer Management Project

What is the Integrated Deer Management Project?

The Integrated Deer Management Project is a multi-year research project led by the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Division of Fish and Wildlife. 

The goal of the Integrated Deer Management Project is to combine deer population and habitat condition information with public perceptions of deer and deer management to better inform white-tailed deer management in Indiana. This will be done by: 

1.  Estimating deer populations and fawn recruitment across Indiana.

2.  Developing region-specific deer population models.

3.  Assessing deer habitat condition and deer impacts to woodlands across Indiana.

4.  Evaluating people's awareness, perceptions, and expectations of Indiana deer populations and how they are managed.

How is this being done?

We are undertaking a series of research studies to better understand deer, their habitat, and people’s values towards deer throughout Indiana. These studies are split into 3 broad categories; deer, habitat, and people. By combining information from these 3 studies, we can help Indiana deer managers make more informed decisions. Data for these projects are being collected through a variety of research methods.

How do we estimate deer populations?

Deer populations are being estimated with data from trail cameras, deer pellet counts, and aerial surveys.

cameras deployed
> million
photos captured
pellet groups
miles of aerial surveys

How do we estimate habitat conditions?

Deer habitat condition is being estimated by aging twigs, sampling plants on transects, and measuring growth and survival of oak seedlings planted in and outside of exclusion cages.

woodlots sampled
miles
of plant sampling transects
deer exclosures built
oak seedlings planted

How do we estimate people's perceptions?

People's perception of deer populations and their management is being estimated through interviews, surveys, and focus groups.

individual interviews
focus groups
minutes of interviews

Where is this being done?

As a first step in the Integrated Deer Management Project, we created 10 Research Management Units (RMUs) across Indiana. A Research Management Unit is a collection of counties that have similar deer habitat characteristics, hunter densities, and human development. A modification of these Research Management Units is being used by the Indiana DNR as Deer Management Units (DMUs). For more information about the Research Management Unit Process, see the 2018 Indiana White-tailed Deer Report or request a copy of the paper describing the process.

We are evaluating deer population and habitat condition in 3 of the 10 Research Management Units. Within those RMUs we are collecting data in multiple zones, each 16 square miles in size. Data from those zones will help us paint a picture of deer populations and habitat condition across each RMU.

All Research Management Units
Specific Research Management Units

Project Timeline

  1. January

    Set trail cameras

  2. February

    Aerial surveys, exclosure construction

  3. March

    Retrieve trail cameras, pellet counts, winter browse surveys

  4. April

    Retrieve trail cameras, pellet counts, winter browse surveys

  5. May

    Plant oak seedlings, vegetation surveys

  6. June

    Plant oak seedlings, vegetation surveys, process and classify images

  7. July

    Vegetation surveys, process and classify images

  8. August

    Measure oak seedlings, process and classify images

  9. September

    Measure oak seedlings, process and classify images

  10. October

    Secure property permissions

  11. November

    Secure propery permissions

  12. December

    Secure property permissions, generate survey points

Project Updates

Hiring Technicians

By Patrick G McGovern | October 21, 2020 |

We are hiring 8 seasonal technicians to work on the Integrated Deer Management Project. 2 positions will focus on deer population and habitat surveys. Find more information here: https://wfscjobs.tamu.edu/jobs/deer-research-technician-2-indiana/ 6 positions will work on our noninvasive predator surveys. Find more information here: https://wfscjobs.tamu.edu/jobs/predator-research-technicians-6-indiana/ Any questions can be directed to Pat McGovern at pmcgove@purdue.edu.

Project Updates

By Patrick G McGovern | September 1, 2020 |

Check out some of our preliminary results from the Integrated Deer Management Project in the DNR’s 2019 Deer Report (pages 101-115) and be sure to follow us on Twitter @researchINdeer for more updates and detailed breakdowns of the research.

Project website live!

By Patrick G McGovern | January 28, 2020 |

The Integrated Deer Management Project website is now live! Stay tuned for updates from the field and be sure to follow us on Twitter @researchINdeer.