Waterfowl hunters participate in hunting for appreciative-, affiliative-, and achievement-oriented reasons. To investigate the influence of achievement-oriented factors on hunt quality, we analyzed post-hunt surveys completed by waterfowl hunters at four Mississippi Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), 2008–2015. We used these questions to calculate a hunt quality score for each participant and tested whether variation in hunt quality was best explained by total number of ducks harvested, number of mallards harvested, total bag weight, or palatability of ducks. Hunt quality increased with total number of ducks and mallards harvested. Hunt quality scores increased with an increasing number of ducks harvested up to six total ducks (i.e., the daily allowable bag) and number of mallards up to 3 ducks (i.e., 1 less than the daily allowable bag during study). Our results indicate that harvesting ducks, especially mallards, is important to hunters at Mississippi WMAs. The importance of duck harvest to hunters should be considered in developing waterfowl management plans in Mississippi and elsewhere in the southeastern United States where these ducks are common.
Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper