Ohio Bowhunter Survey
The Ohio Bowhunter Survey is a program the Division of Wildlife uses to track year-to-year changes in furbearer populations, and to record sightings of special interest species such as black bear, bobcat, and
river otter. Because bowhunters typically spend many hours in the field observing wildlife, this group of outdoorsmen and women provide some of the best information on certain wildlife species that are difficult to monitor using other survey methods.
The information provided by bowhunters, such as the number of animals observed for each species, the amount of time spent bowhunting, and the county in which that person hunted, can provide a measure of relative abundance for furbearer species in Ohio through time. Information provided by bowhunters is summarized and reported as the average number seen for every 1,000 hours hunted statewide. Long term trends in observation rates of furbearers seen by Ohio bowhunters can be found in the raccoon, opossum, coyote, gray fox, red fox, and skunk figures.
Bowhunters can also provide a measure of the relative abundance of these species throughout Ohio. Observation rates for individual species are calculated for each county and sorted from the lowest observation rates to the highest for each individual species. Counties with observation rates falling in the lower 25% for a particular species are assigned a “Low” rating, counties in the upper 25% are assigned a “High” rating, whereas the remaining are assigned a “Medium” rating. Adjustments were made, however, when a significant number of zeros occurred for county observation rates (e.g., gray fox). Results of relative abundance and distribution analyses can be found in the raccoon map, opossum map, coyote map, gray fox map, red fox map, and skunk map.
The total number of bowhunters participating in the survey has varied during the past several years, along with the total hours that bowhunters contributed each year. During the 2011 season, 869 bowhunters contributed 49,520 hours, with the distribution of hours averaging 60.0 hours per bowhunter.
Survey forms are mailed to participants annually in September. The Division of Wildlife continues to seek new participants for the bowhunter survey. If you would like to participate, please contact Suzie Prange at the Waterloo Wildlife Research Station by phone (740-589-9924, M-F, 8:00 – 5:00) or email (Suzie.Prange@dnr.state.oh.us).