Factors Influencing American Woodcock Hunter Satisfaction in Canada

  • Christian Roy Canadian Wildlife Service – National Capital Region, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Michel Gendron Canadian Wildlife Service – National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Shawn W. Meyer Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario Region, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • J. Bruce Pollard Canadian Wildlife Service – Atlantic Region, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • J. Ryan Zimmerling Canadian Wildlife Service – National Capital Region, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Abstract

From 1991 to 2005, we surveyed American woodcock (Scolopax minor; hereafter, woodcock) hunters in 3 Canadian provinces to assess hunter satisfaction. Across all submitted reports, 42.0% of the respondents reported a ‘poor’ experience, 35.2% of the hunters reported an ‘average’ experience, and 22.1% of the hunters reported a ‘good’ experience. We analyzed hunter satisfaction rate with an ordered logistic regression that included province, Singing Ground Survey Population Index (SGS index), number of woodcock harvested, hunting effort (hours hunted), environmental conditions before and during the nesting and brood-rearing periods (i.e., prior to the hunting season), precipitation during the post-fledging period, and year as explanatory variables. We also included a random effect for each individual hunter, to account for repeated answers, and for year, to account for short-term irregular perturbations in hunter satisfaction. Hunters from Nova Scotia were on average more satisfied than hunters from Ontario. Hunter satisfaction was positively correlated with the SGS index and the number of woodcock harvested by the hunter during a hunting trip. Hunter satisfaction was negatively correlated with the amount of precipitation during the nesting period and positively correlated with the amount of precipitation during the post-fledging period. However, there was considerable variation in individual hunter response, with 27.7% of the hunters more satisfied than average and 22.8% less satisfied than average. In fact, the individual hunter response accounted for approximately 75.0% of the variability observed in the model, indicating that accounting for hunter satisfaction would require further investigation. In the meantime, promoting woodcock habitat conservation in southern Canada could increase woodcock populations, harvest opportunity, and, by extension, hunter satisfaction.

Published
2019-12-02
Section
Communication Strategies