Title:  Evaluation of Outreach Techniques Used to Educate Hunters During an Experimental Antler Restriction Regulation.
Author(s): Len G. Polasek, Xiangwen Liu and Bob Carroll - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Year: 2005
Abstract: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopted a three-year experimental antler regulation in 2002 for 6 Texas counties in an effort to improve the age structure of white-tailed bucks. This regulation required development of innovative methods to educate hunters on judging legal bucks. Outreach techniques included press releases to local media and distribution of approximately 400 posters and 30,000 pocket guides with legal-buck sketches and the regulation definition. A slide presentation and video were developed to train hunters in judging legal bucks, with special emphasis placed on estimating antler spread. The slideshow was presented to 1,237 trainees at 34 different events prior to the 2002-03 general deer season. Trainees were asked four questions to determine if they understood the regulation and how confident they were in judging legal bucks. They were also shown photographs of 6 bucks that they had to categorize as legal or illegal. The training resulted in a 13.7% overall improvement in trainees’ answers (P<0.001). The level of improvement was different among the 10 questions (P<0.001). Greatest improvements occurred in judging the legal status of a buck with slightly less than a 13-inch spread, and trainee confidence in judging whether a buck has an inside spread of 13 inches or greater, with mean improvements of 25.9% and 25.6%, respectively. Greater improvement was also made by juveniles (21.1%) than by adults (12.6%) when answering the questions (P<0.001). Results indicate that the outreach techniques and training sessions were effective in improving trainee ability and confidence in judging legal bucks.

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