Variation in Number of Ducks Harvested among Hunters in the Central Flyway

Knowledge of the relationship between waterfowl hunters and harvest levels may better inform harvest management decisions. We examined frequency of different sizes of daily harvests among duck hunters, and hunters' contributions to duck harvest in the Central Flyway from 1975-1984, 1988-1993, and 2002-2011 using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Parts Collection Survey. We stratified hunters sampled by the Parts Collection Survey into 10 equal hunter groups based on seasonal harvest. Hunter groups were ranked from 1 to 10, with hunter group 1 representing hunters with the lowest seasonal harvests, and hunter group 10 representing hunters with the highest seasonal harvests. Successful hunters attained the 5-duck (1975- 1984), 3-duck (1988-1993), or 6-duck (2002-2011) daily limit in 8%, 28%, and 13%, respectively, of daily harvests. For all the time periods examined, hunter group 1 only contributed 0.98%-1.48% to the total duck harvest in the Central Flyway, whereas hunter group 10 contributed 31.26%-38.41% to the total duck harvest. We concluded that successful hunters were unlikely to achieve large daily limits, and that hunters disproportionately harvested ducks in the Central Flyway. Our data may assist in formulating duck harvest regulations.

Publication date
Starting page
Ending page