How does the WRD get these estimates?
Harvest estimates are obtained by asking a random sample of Georgia deer hunters about their deer hunting effort and success during the past year. These results are then applied to the total number of deer hunters in the state. The total number of deer hunters in the state is obtained from the license sales database.
Who conducts the annual hunter harvest survey?
WRD contracts with the University of Georgia - Survey Research Center (SRC), a professionally recognized neutral party, to conduct the survey each year. WRD and SRC work together to develop a scientific survey questionnaire and to generate a random a sample of hunting license holders from the license sales database. SRC then administers the survey (by telephone) to this random sample of hunters, analyzes the feedback and provides the results to WRD.
What kinds of questions are asked on the survey?
The survey is made up of several questions pertaining to the recent hunting season, such as number of deer killed, sex of deer killed, county where deer were killed, number of days hunted, and many more. Averages for all these answers are calculated and applied to the entire deer hunter population to generate statewide estimates. The survey also is used to ask timely and important questions regarding hunter opinions on hunting and conservation-related issues. The results of these attitude and opinion questions often are used to scientifically evaluate support or opposition for a particular issue or proposal and also to help direct or justify changes in State hunting regulations.
Is every hunter surveyed?
No. As mentioned above, a random sample of hunting license holders is generated from the license sales database. Each hunter has approximately a 1 in a 100 chance of being a part of the survey each year. Like all other scientific surveys, only a sample is necessary to generate valid estimates.
Surveys and sample sizes are designed to produce statistically reliable and affordable results at the Statewide and Deer Management Unit (DMU)levels. Georgia's nine DMUs are comprised of groups of counties with similar habitat and deer herd characteristics that facilitate management efforts based on natural resource characteristics rather than political (county) boundaries (see figure to right). This level of management effort allows WRD to produce sound and defendable regional estimates of deer harvest and hunter success at the smallest practical level. Technical assistance is available from any WRD wildlife biologist for interested groups and individuals desiring to better manage deer herds on their property.