Characteristics and Attitudes of Wild Turkey Hunters in Mississippi

Wildlife management is the interaction of wildlife populations, habitats, and people. The eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) is an important wildlife resource. However, quantitative data on the human dimensions of wild turkey management are scarce. Therefore, we surveyed 2,143 Mississippi turkey hunters by mail to determine characteristics of this group, examine attitudes towards regulations and management issues, and determine how hunter characteristics influenced attitudes. We received responses from 1,524 participants (71.1%). The average respondent was male, a Mississippi resident, 39 years old, had completed at least some college education, and had hunted turkeys for 13 years. Respondents hunting on private land reported higher harvest rates (0.73) and hunter success (0.44) than public land hunters (0.38 and 0.27, respectively). Attitudes towards 17 questions dealing with turkey hunting regulations or pertinent management issues were reported. Attitudes were significantly influenced by hunter characteristics. Surveys should be used to provide wildlife managers information on user-group characteristics and attitudes. This information can be used to plan and implement more comprehensive and proactive wildlife management programs.

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