Influence of Success on Hunter Satisfaction and Deer Management Objectives

We used the 1988, 1989, and 1991 annual mail surveys to Georgia hunters to compare attitudes of successful and unsuccessful deer hunters. All hunters rated seeing game and lack of crowding as the most important components of hunter satisfaction. Important factors contributing to a positive perception of hunting season quality included number of deer observed and harvest success. All hunters indicated the opportunity to hunt for trophies as more important than killing game; however, successful deer hunters rated trophy opportunity higher than did unsuccessful deer hunters. The presence of trophy deer ranked first among successful deer hunters and fourth among unsuccessful hunters, as factors encouraging use of wildlife management areas. The importance to all hunters of seeing game, the high rating of trophy hunting among successful deer hunters, and the high percentage of deer hunters who now are successful (≥50%) may indicate that more hunters would be willing to accept antler restrictions or other regulations for protecting young bucks on traditional hunting areas. Changes in hunter attitudes resulting from increases in hunter success will require wildlife agencies to provide for a more diverse range of hunting experiences than were required in earlier years.

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