Sitka Black-tailed Deer Hunting in Alaska
Deer Harvest Reporting
You are allowed to report your Deer Harvest in person, via U.S. mail, or online. Deer harvest reporting is available online in Report-As-You-Go format, meaning you may log on, report a hunt, and then log on again at a later date to report another hunt or review what you have already reported.
Historic deer harvest reporting was done via a survey. ADF&G conducted these surveys from 1980 through 2010. Each year approximately 35% of deer hunters were mailed a survey and asked to report whether they hunted, if they were successful, and the details of their hunting activity. With the initial mailing and one follow-up reminder, approximately 60% of surveyed hunters provided hunt reports.
Deer harvest is permitted in two regions in the state of Alaska: Region 1 (Southeast) and Region 2 (Southcentral). Each region conducted its own deer harvest survey. The surveys were very similar, but not identical. The data from each survey was stored and analyzed separately at the regional level, and somewhat different summary statistics were calculated for each region. This made analyzing and providing state-wide deer harvest data somewhat cumbersome. A decision was made to switch to a state-wide deer harvest ticket system for the 2011 regulatory year.
Now harvest reporting for deer is similar to that of other species in the state. Harvest report cards are attached to the harvest ticket, and you are required to report. Because the hunting season for deer is long, deer harvest reporting is available As-You-Go to allow hunters to report each hunt immediately rather than have to wait until the end of the hunting season.
Receiving harvest information from hunters—even hunters who were unsuccessful or did not hunt—is very important. Please fill out and return any harvest survey you receive.
How is Deer Harvest Data Used?
Harvest report information lets ADF&G biologists estimate how many people hunted and how many animals were removed from a specific population. The biologists also learn the number of adult males and adult females that were taken. This information, gathered and compared year after year, is a valuable and cost-effective tool for evaluating whether a wildlife population appears to be increasing, decreasing or staying the same.
If the number of reported animals harvested decreases, it could mean that the local game population has dwindled. Alternatively, it could mean fewer people hunted that year or that there was a lower hunter effort (such as hunting fewer days due to inclement weather). Knowing where and how long people hunted, how they got to their hunt area, and if they were successful helps biologists determine which areas are getting pressure and whether deer harvest trends are the result of changes in deer numbers or hunting patterns.
Deer hunters are asked to provide specific hunt location information. With more precise location information, ADF&G is able to code hunting and harvest activity to geographic areas smaller than the GMU, such as islands and watersheds. With this information, managers can use summarized data to:
- better assess changes to deer populations within smaller geographic areas,
- develop management actions specific to areas of concern,
- better evaluate the possible effects of timber harvest or other development activities, and
- identify areas of importance to hunters within a given GMU so that they may more closely monitorchanges in forage availability or deer condition in these areas.
All information collected from harvest reports is kept confidential.
Having complete information from hunters helps managers and policy makers ensure that regulations are in line with what the game population is doing. Summarized deer survey results are used by the Alaska Board of Game and the Federal Subsistence Board to set seasons and bag limits, and to make other hunting regulations such as allocations to communities.
Deer harvest information and hunter participation has been reported in periodic management reports. For more details, see Deer Management & Harvest Reports.
Regional deer harvest summary reports are also available: for Southeast Alaska (PDF 923 kB) or Southcentral Alaska (PDF 305 kB).