White-tailed deer

Abstract

Title:  Hunter Satisfaction and Harvest Preferences Aboard a Publicly Hunted Military Installation
Author(s): Damon R. Lowery - Marine Corps Base, Quantico; Robert T. Stamps - Marine Corps Base, Quantico
Year: 2014
Abstract: In January 2012 Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia conducted its first large scale hunter survey to identify hunter demographics, characteristics, and satisfaction levels. The survey also explored which harvest regimes deer hunters employ and satisfaction with those regimes. A total of 454 out of 816 hunters who hunted aboard Base in 2011 returned completed surveys, resulting in a response rate of 56%. Satisfaction with hunting aboard Base was high as 81% of participants were satisfied with their hunting experiences, and 83% agreed the installation provided high quality hunting. Our findings suggested that most (70%) deer hunters were not overly concerned with harvesting older, large antlered bucks but rather hunted with a traditional management mindset of harvesting any legal deer. Although many current Quantico hunters seek to harvest any deer, harvest records from the last 20 years indicate the Base has also been able to provide harvest opportunities for hunters seeking large antlered bucks, as the annual buck harvest has consisted of over 60% adults (=2.5 years) throughout the last decade. Disparity in satisfaction levels between traditional hunters and hunters focused on harvesting larger antlered bucks was absent. In a time when antler restriction policies are being strongly promoted, we suggest wildlife managers be cautious when formulating future harvest regulations as many hunters may still adhere to traditional harvest approaches. Only by coupling sound scientific data with public input from hunters, as we have demonstrated in this study, can managers ensure proper resource management while simultaneously providing high hunter satisfaction levels.

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