The main purposes of this research wee: (1) assess hunters’ attitudes and beliefs about thepossibility of experimentally changing the buck bag limit and buck harvest standard used in thestate, (2) assess deer hunters’ interest in bear hunting opportunities, and (3) continue statewide,long-term monitoring of trends in deer hunter effort and field experiences. Specific researchobjectives are:(a) determine the degree to which reducing the buck bag limit to one antlered buck perlicense year for all deer hunters would affect hunters’ satisfaction with buck-huntingopportunities in the state, and determine the degree to which deer hunters would supportor oppose such a change.(b) determine the degree to which changing the buck harvest standard to try to protectmost yearling bucks from harvest would affect hunters’ satisfaction with buck-huntingopportunities in the state, and determine the degree to which deer hunters would supportor oppose such a change.(c) identify positive and negative aspects of deer hunting that are impacts of greatimportance or concern to deer hunters, and determine whether experienced levels of thesepositive impacts are high enough for hunters to be satisfied and whether experiencedlevels of these negative impacts are low enough for hunters to still be satisfied.(d) assess the percentages of deer hunters who consider themselves to be bear hunters,who actively went bear hunting in 2006, and who would harvest a bear if they had achance to do so legally.(e) assess trends in socio-demographic characteristics, hunter effort, and deer-huntingexperiences of resident deer hunters.
Survey implementation. We conducted a mail survey of 4,000 New York State residentswho had purchased a license to hunt big game (required for hunting deer or black bear), out of apopulation of about 550,000 big game license buyers statewide. We stratified the sample intofour geographic strata: (1) Metro NYC including Long Island (Regions 1 and 2, n = 1,200), (2)Southeastern NY (Regions 3 and 4, n = 1,200), (3) Northern NY (Regions 5 and 6, n = 800), and(4) Central-western NY (Regions 7-9, n = 800). We implemented the mail survey on 23February 2007 using a standard four-wave procedure. Our last reminder letter was mailed tonon-respondents on 23 March, and we included in our analysis all questionnaires returned by 10April.Weighting to address response bias. Because of different numbers of hunters living inthe four geographic strata and slightly different response rates, we weighted the data whencalculating statewide estimates. When we determined respondents’ experiences during the 2006i