District 2 Deer Internship

All supplies and equipment are supplied by the Wildlife Resources Commission. All work-related travel expenses are paid by the Wildlife Resources Commission. All interns are paid overtime in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards act and agency policy. Please note that housing is the responsibility of the intern.

Project Name: District 2 Deer Internship

Gain experience working with WRC Biologists and estimating deer population demographics in eastern NC using various survey techniques.


The objectives of this internship aim to increase knowledge of deer population demographic on private lands and game lands in District 2.  These objectives help achieve the NCWRC goal for deer hunting and management to use science-based decision making and biologically-sound management principles to assure long-term viability of deer populations at desirable levels of health, herd composition, and density with respect to land cover type and use, hunter satisfaction, and overall social acceptance.

Internship objectives

  1. Estimate deer recruitment on private lands and game lands in NCWRC District 2 with FLIR surveys
  2. Evaluate a bow hunter observation survey for long-term recruitment monitoring and statewide application
  3. Collect baseline population demographic data in accordance with inventory needs identified in the Holly Shelter Game Land Management Plan
  4. Identify successful game land deer hunters in District 2 and implement a jawbone mail survey to address harvest data needs identified in the Holly Shelter Game Land Management Plan FLIR surveys and jawbone mail surveys are specifically recognized in the current Holly Shelter Game Land Management Plan draf as viable methods to address deer inventory needs.  This proposal would fulfill that portion of the management plan.

In 2010 the Commission approved the Biological Evaluation of Proposed Deer Regulation tool as an objective way to evaluate deer regulations based on the best available data.  This tool is used to evaluate both game land and private land deer regulation proposals.  Deer age data needed for this tool is lacking on game lands.  Initiating a jawbone mail survey for game land deer hunters will help address this data need.

The parameters of the biological objectives identified in the deer regulation evaluation tool were established using the best available science at that time.  In accordance with the adaptive management philosophy, this proposal is a means to further evaluate those parameters, adjust parameters if necessary, and improve the long-term management outcome for deer.

Recent research on Ft. Bragg and elsewhere in the southeastern US demonstrates coyotes can and sometimes do have significant impacts on deer recruitment.  Ft. Bragg deer are on a low nutritional plane and research there likely represents an extreme example of how coyotes can impact deer recruitment in NC.  Currently we have little to no recruitment data throughout the rest of the state and can only speculate on how applicable the results of Ft. Bragg are to the rest of the state.

The outdoor media is paying close attention to coyote and deer research.  As a result, deer hunters may start adjusting their doe harvest whether it is applicable to the property they hunt or not.  This could undermine efforts to increase doe harvest in parts of the state where it is still warranted.  Doe harvest will continue to be an important aspect of deer management in NC.  To continue to educate our hunters and confidently give the appropriate doe harvest recommendations, WRC Biologists need more recruitment data on game lands and private lands across the state. 

Project Location:

County: New Hanover, Pender, Duplin, Onslow, Jones County

Location: New Hanover, Pender, Duplin, Onslow, Jones County or willing to commute to Holly Shelter Wildlife Depot, 7471 Shaw Hwy, Rocky Point, NC

Location Description: Home Office within the work area;Field location such as a depot

Academic Majors:

Suitable academic majors: Wildlife Science, Conservation Biology, Zoology or closely related field. In addition, relevant coursework includes: wildlife management, zoology, botany, statistics.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required:

  • Working knowledge of the practical techniques and procedures involved in wildlife management.
  • Knowledge of wildlife habitats and species requirements.
  • Ability to operate a vehicle, personal computer, and GPS.
  • Willingness to work long and late hours under adverse conditions.
  • Ability to coordinate and work with agency staff and landowners.
  • Ability to accurately collect and analyze field data.

Tasks and Duties:

The intern will implement FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) surveys on 4-6 private land and 4-6 game land locations in Pender, Duplin, Onslow and Jones Counties.  Data acquired will be used to estimate deer density, sex ratio and recruitment.  The intern will be responsible for finalizing a FLIR survey protocol, establishing survey routes, coordinating and conducting FLIR surveys and replicates, and compiling and presenting results.  The intern will also be responsible for designing and implementing a bowhunter observation survey in WRC District 2.  The bowhunter observation survey will be evaluated for long-term monitoring of recruitment and statewide application.  The intern will also assist WRC staff in initiating an annual jawbone mail survey for successful District 2 game land deer hunters in an effort to collect harvest data need to adequately evaluate regulation proposals specific to game lands.

Travel Required:

No overnight travel.  Roundtrip daily travel up to 150 miles on any given day.

Work Schedule:

Weekdays (M-F);Frequent evening or nighttime hours

Final Product:

Project outcome:

  1. Acquire age data of deer harvested on District 2 game lands needed for the Commission approved Biological Evaluation of Proposed Deer Regulation tool
  2. Collect base line population demographic data in accordance with inventory needs identified in the Holly Shelter Game Land Management Plan
  3. Estimate deer recruitment with FLIR surveys to further evaluate the biological parameters set in the Biological Evaluation of Proposed Deer Regulation tool
  4. Increase the knowledge base of WRC Biologists with respect to deer recruitment in order to continue to educate hunters and confidently provide appropriate doe harvest recommendations
  5. Compare FLIR and bowhunter observation survey recruitment estimates, and if applicable, use the bowhunter observation survey for long-term monitoring and statewide application
  6. Provide a valuable learning experience and opportunity to work with WRC Staff for a student aspiring to become a Wildlife Biologist

Knowledge Gained:

The intern will gain knowledge of various survey techniques used to estimate wildlife population demographics.  They will learn some of the intricacies of deer management on private and public land and will gain valuable experience working with landowners and WRC staff.

How to Apply:

Learn about the application process.