Bowhunter Observation Survey

Bowhunter in treestandThe Bowhunter Observation Survey is an annual survey conducted by the Iowa DNR to obtain information on deer, turkeys, and selected furbearers. This survey was initiated in 2004 and was designed jointly by the Iowa DNR and William R. Clark, Professor at Iowa State University. For each bowhunting trip, survey participants are asked to record the date, the county hunted, the number of hours hunted, and the number of animals observed while bowhunting. Hunters are asked to record observations of the following species:

White-tailed Deer Raccoon Wild Turkey Opossum
Striped Skunk Bobcat Coyote Badger
Red Fox House cat Gray Fox River Otter

The primary objectives for this survey are to:

  • determine the value of bowhunter observation data as a supplement to other deer data collected by the DNR; and
  • develop a long-term database of selected furbearer data for monitoring and evaluating population trends.

Bowhunters are a logical choice for observational-type surveys because the methods used while bowhunting deer are also ideal for viewing most wildlife species in their natural environment. Bowhunters spend a considerable amount of time pursuing deer from a bowstand or ground blind, and while doing so they typically wear camouflage and take steps to control or mask human scent.
Sample survey form for this survey

List of frequently asked questions regarding this survey

Current results:
2015 Bowhunter Observation Survey