Research on Deer in McKean County – Numbers are Up

Research by the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative (KQDC) shows that deer numbers are up on the 73,000 acres of public and private lands located between Bradford and Warren Pennsylvania. But, what kind of research goes into making that determination? And can hunters help?

The Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative is a combination of landowners all working together to allow hunter access to their properties AND using their personnel and hunter volunteers to collect data throughout the year to inform the best decisions about the health of the deer herd. The KQDC is located just north of the village of Westline and extends north through Marshburg on SR 59 to near Bradford and the New York State Line.

The KQDC has conducted deer surveys on the area for 20 years. The deer surveys cover habitat assessments, population estimates, check station data, trail camera pictures, hunter vehicle counts, buck/doe ratios, and doe/fawn ratios – and all of this data is collected at different times of the year.

  • Population estimates: Every year company foresters and KQDC staff walks hundreds of miles during a late winter or early spring survey to estimate the number of deer that remain after the hunting seasons have ended.
  • Habitat assessment: Researchers also document the levels of deer browse by vegetation species, and the availability of browse throughout the area.
  • Check station operation: Check station operation is for three to four days every year during the firearms deer season in late November to early December. Deer age, weights, and antler size is documented every year. Some years, other data are also collected for deer health.
  • Trail camera operation: Trail cameras are place throughout the summer and early fall to document does, fawns, and bucks.
  • Hunter vehicle counts: These are done the first two days of the firearms deer season and involve a simple tally of two driving routes north and south of SR 59.

The research covers lands of the Alleghany National Forest, Bradford Watershed Authority, Collins Pines/Kane Hardwoods, Conservation Forestry, and Ram Forest Products. Research is conducted with assistance from Generations Forestry of Kane, Collins Pine of Kane, and Commonwealth Forestry, and the Allegheny NF.

What has the research documented? Deer weight and antler size has increased over the past 20 years, meaning that deer habitat has improved, and the number of deer is in better balance with food.

How can HUNTERS help? Bring your deer to the check station on the days we are open. If you harvest a deer in any other season, make certain you report your harvest. Good harvest information is necessary to properly manage deer health and populations. Hunters are vital to this effort.

The deer check station on SR 59 at Timberdoodle Flats will be open from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, November 28, 29, and 30 and also on Saturday, December 5th 2020. Hunters who bring their deer to the check station will receive a raffle ticket for cash prizes.

The KQDC is almost 75,000 acres of public and private lands managed to improve deer populations and habitat. The land is west of Bradford and north of Kane in McKean County. The cooperators are Sand County Foundation, Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, Allegheny National Forest, Bradford Water Authority, Conservation Forestry, Collins Pine Co. (Kane Hardwood), and RAM Forest Products. Additional information can be obtained at www.kqdc.com or www.Facebook.com/TheKQDC.