The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is asking hunters to help monitor the state's terrestrial wildlife populations by reporting sightings through the Bowhunter Observation Survey.
MDC has conducted an annual survey since 1983 to track trends in wildlife populations, such as coyotes, fox, deer, wild turkeys and raccoons. During the early part of the archery deer and turkey season, from Sept. 15 until the start of the November portion of firearms deer season, hunters record sightings of wildlife observed while hunting. These data are recorded and summarized at the statewide and county level.
Survey participants previously signed up for a mailing list to receive paper diaries to record their sightings during archery season. MDC has recently developed an electronic version to make the survey more accessible and to improve how quickly results are summarized.
"Using the information submitted for the survey, we can calculate 'Archer's Indices' for different observed wildlife species to track trends in animal populations," MDC Furbearer Biologist Nate Bowersock said. "Bowhunter surveys are also used in other states and can be an efficient way to track wildlife numbers that are otherwise costly to do through other methods."
While any bowhunter can contribute to the survey, registering to become an official cooperator has additional benefits. Cooperators will receive a reminder email that the survey is about to begin and a summary report at the end of each survey. Cooperators can also receive a copy of their submitted observations upon request.
To learn more and to sign up for the Bowhunter Observation Survey, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/4co.