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2006 Deer Hunter Opnion Survey

2006 Deer Hunter Opnion Survey

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Deer Hunter Opinion Survey
Deer Hunter Opinion Survey

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A contribution of Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, Michigan Project W-147-R
 
Equal Rights for Natural Resource Users
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides equal opportunities for employment and access to Michigan’s natural resources. Both State and Federal laws prohibitdiscrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, age, sex, height, weight or marital status under the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, as amended (MI PA 453 and MI PA 220,Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act). If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility, or if youdesire additional information, please write the DNR, HUMAN RESOURCES, PO BOX 30028, LANSING MI 48909-7528,
or
the MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL RIGHTS, STATE OFMICHIGAN PLAZA BUILDING, 1200 6TH STREET, DETROIT MI 48226,
or
the OFFICE FOR DIVERSITY AND CIVIL RIGHTS, US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, 4040 NORTH FAIRFAXDRIVE, ARLINGTON VA 22203.For information or assistance on this publication, contact: DNR, WILDLIFE DIVISION, P.O. BOX 30444, LANSING, MI 48909-7944, -or- through the internet at “ http://www.michigan.gov/dnr “.This publication is available in alternative formats upon request. TTY/TTD (teletype): 711 (Michigan Relay Center).
IC2578-113 (02/26/2008)
M
ICHIGAN
D
EPARTMENT OF
N
ATURAL
R
ESOURCES
 Wildlife Division Report No. 3482March 2008
2006
 
D
EER
H
UNTER
O
PINION
S
URVEY
 
Brian J. Frawley and Brent A. Rudolph
A
BSTRACT
 
A random sample of 9,000 deer hunting license buyers were contacted after the 2006 deer hunting season to (1) estimate importance of deer hunting and motives of deer hunters in Michigan, (2) quantify hunter activity during the past three deer hunting seasons, and (3) determine deer hunters’ opinions on various hunting regulations. Most licensees (83%) indicated hunting deer was either one of their most important recreational activities or the most important activity. The primary reasons people enjoyed hunting deer were to spend time outdoors, spend time with friends and family, and the excitement of seeing deer. Among hunters who purchased a deer hunting license in 2006, 96% of these licensees spent time in the field hunting deer during the past three years (683,095 deer hunters). About 74% of these hunters took at least one deer during the past three years. Nearly 60% of hunters took an antlered deer and 46% took an antlerless deer during the past three years. Over 75% of deer hunters felt the number of deer, number of bucks, number of mature bucks, and deer herd health were the most important issues to consider when developing deer hunting regulations. Most deer hunters (>62%) statewide believed there were moderate to extensive problems with the number of deer, number of bucks, and number of mature bucks in the region where they most often hunted. Statewide, most deer hunters (84%) agreed the regular firearm season should begin on November 15. Most deer hunters in the Upper Peninsula (58%) and Northern Lower Peninsula (52%) supported additional restrictions on buck harvest. Nearly equal proportions of deer hunters in the Southern Lower Peninsula supported and opposed additional buck harvest 
Printed by Authority of: P.A. 451 of 1994Total Number of Copies Printed: .......25Cost per Copy: ..............…................$2.03Total Cost:
 
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$50.75
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
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restrictions. Although most Michigan deer hunters favored additional buck harvest restrictions, none of the buck harvest restrictions evaluated received higher support than the existing regulations (i.e., allow hunters to take a total of two bucks in any combination of seasons if one of those bucks has at least four antler points on one antler).
I
NTRODUCTION
 
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) and the Department of NaturalResources (DNR) have the authority and responsibility to protect and manage thewildlife resources of the state of Michigan. The NRC recognizes deer in Michigan as animportant natural resource that should be maintained at a level providing qualityrecreation, yet does not result in unacceptable impacts on public safety, native plantcommunities, agricultural, horticultural, and silvicultural crops (NRC Policy 2007).Annually the DNR considers, among other factors, deer numbers and hunter attitudeswhen developing deer hunting regulations. Estimating hunter participation, harvest, andhunting effort through annual harvest surveys and information from deer harvest checkstations, deer pellet group surveys, reports of automobile accidents involving deer, andpopulation modeling are some of the methods used to monitor deer population trends.Opinion surveys and other forms of public input are also used by the NRC and DNR toaccomplish its statutory responsibility.The opinions of Michigan deer hunters are obtained through three primary means:contacts with local biologists, NRC and DNR public meetings, and hunter opinionsurveys. DNR professionals frequently discuss regulations with hunters at local publicmeetings and during informal contacts, including phone calls and letters. However,opinions obtained through these processes may not reflect those held by most deer hunters because these opinions often come from hunters with specific complaints or focus on local issues. Scientifically-designed opinion surveys of deer hunters are usefultools to supplement hunter opinions obtained locally and through public meetings.Hunting white-tailed deer is an important recreational activity in Michigan. An estimated691,000 hunters spent 10.1 million days afield deer hunting, and harvestedapproximately 456,000 deer in Michigan during 2006 (Frawley 2007). Identifying factorsthat influence the choices of deer hunters will assist managers in obtaining a morethorough understanding of the impacts of hunting regulations. The major objectives of this study were to (1) estimate importance of deer hunting and motives of deer huntersin Michigan, (2) quantify hunter activity during the past three deer hunting seasons, and(3) determine deer hunters’ opinions on various hunting regulations.
M
ETHODS
 
Following the 2006 deer hunting seasons, a questionnaire (Appendix A) was sent to9,000 randomly selected people who purchased a 2006 deer hunting license. Thepeople selected were grouped into one of three strata on the basis of their region of residence (Figure 1). The strata consisted of people residing in (1) the Upper Peninsula
 
3[UP], (2) northern Lower Peninsula [NLP], and (3) southern Lower Peninsula [SLP].The sample consisted of 3,000 people from each stratum. Although nonresidentstypically comprise about 3% of the deer hunting license buyers (Frawley 2006),nonresidents were not included in the sample.Questionnaires were mailed initially in early January 2007. Up to two follow-upquestionnaires were sent to non-respondents. Questionnaires were undeliverable to185 people, primarily because of changes in residence. Questionnaires were returnedby 5,598 of 8,815 people receiving the questionnaire (64% response rate).Estimates were calculated using a stratified random sampling design (Cochran 1977).Using stratification, hunters were placed into similar groups (strata) based on their region of residence, and then estimates were derived for each group separately. Thestatewide estimate was then derived by combining group estimates so the influence of each group matched the frequency its members occurred in the statewide population of hunters. The primary reason for using a stratified sampling design was to produce moreprecise estimates. Improved precision means similar estimates should be obtained if this survey were to be repeated.Some individuals did not answer all survey questions. When a respondent did notprovide an answer, they were omitted from the analysis for that question. Generally,1-3% of respondents failed to provide an answer for any single question.In addition to statewide estimates, estimates were derived separately for the regionwhere hunters most often hunted (UP, NLP, and SLP). Estimates were calculatedalong with their 95% confidence limit (CL). In theory, this CL can be added andsubtracted from the estimate to calculate the 95% confidence interval. The confidenceinterval is a measure of the precision associated with the estimate and implies the truevalue would be within this interval 95 times out of 100. Unfortunately, there are severalother possible sources of error in surveys that are probably more serious thantheoretical calculations of sampling error. They include failure of participants to provideanswers (nonresponse bias), question wording, and question order. It is difficult tomeasure these biases. Thus, estimates were not adjusted for possible bias.Statistical tests are used routinely to determine the likelihood the differences amongestimates are larger than expected by chance alone. We used the overlap of 95%confidence intervals to determine whether estimates differed. Non-overlapping 95%confidence intervals was equivalent to stating the difference between the means waslarger than would be expected 995 out of 1,000 times (P<0.005), if the study had beenrepeated (Payton et al. 2003).

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