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Hunting deer? There's an app for that

deerSTARKVILLE — Deer hunters can take wildlife biologists’ expertise with them to the woods this season by downloading free apps from Mississippi State University.

Three smartphone apps were developed by experts with the MSU Deer Lab, a collaborative effort of the MSU Extension Service and MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center.

“We tried to address a variety of deer-related issues that challenge hunters and folks who manage land for deer hunting,” said Bronson Strickland, Extension wildlife biologist. “We offer a variety of workshops, but with the apps, our research-based information is available whenever anyone needs it, wherever they are — even on the deer stand.”

Strickland said the first MSU Deer Lab app has been updated to reflect the latest information on food plots. Users can measure the area of a food plot and then select forages to plant. The app will calculate the appropriate seeding rate based on the size of the plot.

Many hunters are now interested in managing the herd for production of older bucks. A critical step in this process is developing the skill to age deer “on the hoof.” Therefore, the Deer Lab developed an app that helps hunters train themselves to identify characteristics that will improve their ability to age live deer.

Additionally, the app guides hunters through the process of aging a harvested deer by analyzing the jawbone.

The newest app, MSUES Deer Hunt, is designed to help hunters and hunting clubs manage deer observation data and harvest data.

“Data are critical for deer management programs,” said Steve Demarais, professor and researcher at the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center. “Club administrators can register members, mark stand locations, record deer observations while hunting and track harvest data.”

During or at the end of deer season, hunters can run a report based on their observations and determine when they saw the most deer, where they saw the most deer, and from which stands they saw more bucks. They can also run a report of harvest data to calculate average body weight, antler score, and other useful information.

All three MSU Deer Lab apps are available for Apple devices through the App Store.

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