As part of The Wildlife Resources Division's (WRD) goal to maintain a quality deer herd in Georgia, estimates of the state's deer harvest, deer hunter effort, and deer hunter success are acquired each year and then used to inform development of hunting regulations in subsequent years to facilitate meeting desired management objectives.
The question often comes up, “How does WRD get these estimates?” Since at least 1962, WRD has used scientifically valid, survey methodology to get estimates of not only deer harvest, but also harvest estimates of other game species. Harvest estimates are obtained by asking a random sample of approximately 2,500 licensed Georgia deer hunters about their deer hunting effort and success during the most recent deer season. 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 hunting license database. The 2,500 hunter sample size is more than adequate, statistically, to produce precise estimates of statewide harvest, effort, and success.
Another question commonly asked is, “Who conducts Georgia’s annual hunter harvest survey?” WRD contracts with public opinion research firms that specialize in natural resource issues. Since 2004, WRD has contracted with Responsive Management, a professionally recognized research firm and neutral third party, to conduct the survey each year. WRD and Responsive Management work together to develop a scientific survey questionnaire and to generate a random a sample of hunting license holders from the license sales database. Responsive Management then administers the survey (by telephone) to this random sample of hunters, statistically analyzes the results, and provides a survey report to WRD.
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 other pertinent questions. Statistical parameter estimates for these data are calculated and applied to the entire deer hunter population to generate statewide and physiographic region 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 (social science) are often used to scientifically evaluate support or opposition for a particular issue or proposal and also to help inform changes in state hunting regulations.
Another commonly asked question is, “Why isn’t every hunter surveyed?” As mentioned above, a random sample of hunting license holders is generated from the license 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 relatively small sample is needed to generate statistically valid estimates within accepted standard deviations. Surveys and sample sizes are designed to produce statistically reliable and economically affordable results at the statewide and physiographic region level. This level of management effort allows WRD to produce scientifically sound and defendable estimates of deer harvest and hunter success at the most practical management level.
Technical assistance is available from any WRD wildlife biologist for interested groups and individuals desiring to better manage the deer herd on their property. Biologists may be reached by contacting the appropriate Game Management Section regional office for a particular county.
Georgia Game Check
Starting in the 2016–2017 season, hunters are required to check their deer harvests through Georgia Game Check. You can view Georgia Game Check Deer Harvest Reporting Data here.
Annual Deer Harvest Summaries by Season
As part of the Wildlife Resources Division's (WRD) goal to maintain a sustainable wild turkey population in Georgia, estimates of the state's turkey harvest, turkey hunter effort, and turkey hunter success are acquired each year and then used to adjust hunting regulations in subsequent years to achieve desired results.
The question often comes up, “How does WRD get these estimates of turkey harvest and hunter effort?” Since at least 1962, WRD has used scientifically valid, survey methodology to get estimates of game species harvest. Harvest estimates are obtained by asking a random sample of licensed resident turkey hunters- with a sample size of about 800-through a telephone interview, about their turkey hunting effort and success during the most recent turkey hunting season. These results are then applied to the total number of licensed resident turkey hunters in the state. The total number of turkey hunters in the state is obtained from the hunting license database maintained by WRD’s Licensing and Boating Registration Unit
Another commonly asked question is, “Who conducts Georgia’s turkey harvest survey?” WRD contracts with public opinion research firms that specialize in natural resource issues. Since 2004, WRD has contracted with Responsive Management, a professionally recognized research firm and neutral third party, to conduct the turkey harvest survey each year. WRD and Responsive Management work together to develop a survey questionnaire and to generate a random a sample of hunting license holders from the hunting license database. Responsive Management then administers the survey to this random sample of hunters, statistically analyzes the results, and provides a survey report to WRD.
Georgia Game Check
Turkey Production Surveys
The purpose of the turkey production-population index study is to provide an accurate means by which the Department of Natural Resources can evaluate statewide and regional wild turkey production during the breeding season and population levels during the hunting season. DNR uses this information to determine production and population trends, management needs, and where and how to direct management efforts. It also provides Georgia hunters with a forecast of the prospects for the spring gobbler season.
This project consists of two components: A) turkey production index survey and B) turkey hunting population index survey. The two separate surveys used in this project have remained basically unchanged since the study was started at the beginning of the poult-rearing season in 1978. The production survey provides data on young turkeys seen during the nesting and rearing season, and the population survey provides a measure of the population existing during the hunting season. Data have shown a strong correlation between observed production and hunting season populations. The correlation between the production indices and population indices are used in evaluating annual production and populations and in making comparisons for trends. These data provide sound biological information useful in monitoring and regulating Georgia's turkey hunting season.
The turkey production survey is conducted during the months of June, July and August. During these months, cooperators record data related to all turkey broods and hens, with or without broods, that are observed in the course of routine duties. No special efforts are made to locate turkeys for this survey. The average number of poults seen per observer is used as an index to production. Data are compiled on a statewide and physiographic region basis. Cooperators currently include field personnel of the Wildlife Resources Division. However, we are interested in expanding the breadth of this data. So, if you would like to participate in this survey, download and follow the instructions on this form.
The turkey hunting population survey is conducted during the spring turkey hunting season. This data is provided by hunter cooperators. Cooperators can fill out this form. Specific information is recorded about each hunting trip including the date, hours hunted, county or physiographic region hunted, number of turkeys seen, and number of gobblers heard. Kill information is also requested, but is optional. The number of turkeys observed per unit of hunting effort provide an index of the hunting season population. Data are compiled on a statewide and physiographic region basis.
You can view the entire research and survey report for each reporting year. The survey year runs from July 1–June 30 annually, thereby encompassing the summer brood rearing period and the following spring turkey hunting season. For example, the 2003 report provides production data for 2002 and the hunter-cooperator data for the 2003 hunting season. The reports are published annually in September.
- Long Range Report
- Turkey Hunter Comments
- Wild Turkey Production and Population Survey Results
- 2015 Turkey Season Forecast - Video
As part of The Wildlife Resources Division's (WRD) goal to maintain a sustainable alligator population in Georgia, records of the State's alligator harvest, alligator hunter effort, and alligator hunter success are acquired each year and then used to adjust hunting regulations in subsequent years to achieve desired results.
How does the WRD get this information?
Harvest records are obtained by surveying Georgia alligator hunters about their alligator hunting effort during the past season. Surveys are completed when a successful hunter validates a harvested alligator at one of WRD's Game Management offices.
- Full alligator report for 2016.
- 2016 alligator harvest summary and 2003–2016 alligator harvest data.
- More on the alligator hunting season.