Deer Monitoring at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield

Visitors enjoy viewing the many deer that roam the battlefield. They are one of the larger and more charismatic creatures encountered. It is hard to imagine that deer were almost extinct in the early 1900s from over hunting. Deer are very adaptable to human disturbance, however, and have since recovered in numbers. As deer numbers continue to rise at the battlefield, so to does the threat of disease, damage to the battlefield landscape, and collisions with deer on nearby highways.
Graph of deer population from 2005 through 2018.
The adjusted count of deer for years 2005 through 2018 at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Missouri. Left axis shows adjusted count of deer numbers (individuals / km2,  + 95% CI).

Adjusted Count of Deer in the Visible Survey Area, Low (Gray) to High (Dark Blue).
Series of maps representing adjusted deer count at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.
Range in the adjusted count of deer color-coded from relatively low to high over 14 years of monitoring. Visible area surveyed during annual counts is the extent of the colored area. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Missouri.

NPS scientists monitor deer at the battlefield using nighttime spotlight surveys. The surveys result in an adjusted count of deer used to track changes in the deer population. Looking at the trend in the annual adjusted count of deer, you will notice a sharp decline in the population between 2005 and 2007. This coincides with an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease. The 2016 adjusted count of deer was the largest observed over the 14 years of monitoring. The following year marked the sharpest annual decline. Although variable, you can see a significant increase since the lowest adjusted count in 2007.
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Learn more about the Heartland Inventory and Monitoring Network.

Data in this report were collected and analyzed using methods based on established, peer-reviewed protocols and were analyzed and interpreted within the guidelines of the protocols.

Last updated: September 4, 2018