The Significance Of A "Time Lag" In Conducting A Postal Survey Of Archery Deer Hunters

A postal survey of 301 archery deer hunters was conducted during April-May, 1970 to determine the utilization of South Carolina game management areas by archery hunters during 1969. The hunters were asked three questions; namely (1) the number of deer killed, (2) the number of visits made to the management areas, and (3) the number of hours spent while hunting deer. Due to an oversight, the random selection of archery hunters to be contacted in the postal survey was made from returned "hunt permits" on which each archery hunter had previously answered the same questions asked in the postal survey. The questions on the returned hunt permits had been "answered" by the archery hunters at the close of each scheduled archery hunt that was held during the September-December, 1969 hunting season. A tabulation of the information obtained from the postal survey revealed that the 301 archery hunters had killed 30 deer. These same 301 hunters had previously reported a total kill of 10 deer when answering the question on the hunt permits at the close of the archery hunts, all of which had been completed by December 31, 1969. A comparison of the postal survey data and the returned "hunt permit" data, as regards the number of visits and the number of hours hunted, revealed also that the information submitted in the postal survey was greater than that reported at the conclusion of the hunts. The general conclusions made from the analyses of these two "sets" of data from the same archery hunters were (1) that postal surveys of hunters should be conducted immediately after the conclusion of the hunts involved and (2) that hunters with a special interest may possibly, at times, be inclined to report erroneous information so as to achieve a specific objective.

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