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Q.1-5: Evaluating Hunter Surveys at Oakwood Bottoms Greentree Reservoir in Southern Illinois

Presented by Ethan M Dittmer - Email: ethan.dittmer@siu.edu

Human-dimensions research provides wildlife managers with feedback from the users of sites they manage. These user data can help managers to make informed decisions that aim to reach long-term management goals while addressing users opinions. During our first field season, we tested two different methods online open-web surveys and paper mail-in surveys to garner voluntary feedback and harvest reporting from hunters at Oakwood Bottoms Greentree Reservoir (hereafter Oakwood) in southwestern Illinois. Online surveys were available to hunters every day of the duck season (November 10th 2018 January 8th 2019) and mail-in surveys were placed on hunters vehicles every other day of the season. The principle objectives of the project are to: (1) collect feedback from users that will be provided to site managers, (2) evaluate which survey type (online or mail-in) is best suited for Oakwood, and (3) evaluate trends in harvest, satisfaction, and opinion at Oakwood. We found apparent individual response rates of 20.9% and 2% for paper and online surveys, respectively, demonstrating that online surveys alone will be inefficient for garnering voluntary feedback from hunters at Oakwood. Regardless of satisfaction level reported by respondent, most (78%) stated that they plan to return to Oakwood, possibly indicating that desire to return is driven by factors other than success and satisfaction. We will be conducting a second field season this fall to compare response rates of paper surveys placed on vehicles to those picked up by hunters at several survey stations around the site. We will compare data from both seasons to further evaluate trends in motivation and satisfaction while determining which survey type is best suited for long-term use at Oakwood and similar sites.
Session: Poster Session 2 (Wednesday, August 28, 19:00 to 21:00)