Attitudes of Wild Turkey Hunters Toward Potential Regulation Changes in Mississippi

Numbers of wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) and turkey hunters have increased greatly in the Southeast during the last 3 decades, and administrators and managers should be aware of hunter attitudes toward potential hunting regulation changes. Our objective was to determine attitudes of turkey hunters regarding regulations on use of hunter orange, baiting, and a fall either-sex harvest. We conducted a mail survey of turkey hunters (N = 4,026) who hunted turkeys in Mississippi during the 1994 spring gobblers-only season. An initial mailout was followed by a second request, and a total response rate of 51 % was attained. Logistic regression analyses were used in 3 models— 1 for each potential regulation. Twenty-five hunting and demographic variables were entered into each model based on forward stepwise variable selection. Most (89%) of the respondents disagreed that turkey hunters should have to wear blaze orange. A total of 81% of respondents disagreed that baiting for turkeys should be legal. Finally, 58% of the respondents opposed a state-wide, fall either-sex turkey hunting season. Attitudes found to be significantly associated with each model (i.e., a regulation) are presented. Wildlife managers should consider hunter attitudes when deciding upon regulations.

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