Mississippi Deer Management Assistance Program Cooperators'

We used a self-administered mail questionnaire to investigate Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) cooperators' understanding of and satisfaction with this program to identify possible improvements in the quality of educational and technical assistance. Since statewide program inception in 1983, no effort had been made to evaluate the program from a customer's perspective prior to our study. We sent questionnaires to 618 DMAP cooperators immediately after the close of the 2004-05 deer hunting season in Mississippi. We received 391 useable questionnaires. When non-deliverables (N = 57) were excluded from consideration, we achieved an effective response rate of 74.9%. Results indicated that cooperators generally understood why they collect biological samples but were less understanding of overall program goals. Cooperators were generally satisfied with their participation in DMAP and their biologist, but performance fell below expectations on some aspects of program delivery and all aspects of service delivery. Strongest correlates for satisfaction with program and service delivery indicate that biologists need to better understand how cooperators define quality deer populations and quality deer. This most likely could be achieved with increased face-to-face interactions between biologists and cooperators. Increased contact between agency personnel and program cooperators could help to increase cooperators satisfaction with the program, and help to recruit new individuals or clubs into the program.

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