Opinion Survey Sent to Deer Hunters

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Iowa Department of Natural Resource officials are asking deer hunters for help to determine if the factors contributing to declining hunter numbers nationwide are applicable in Iowa. The information will help define what hurdles hunters face today, and what issues the DNR needs to address to promote and enhance deer hunting in Iowa.

Research from other states suggests multiple factors - such as competing interests and obligations, restricted access, age and lack of hunting partners -- contribute to declining hunting participation. Iowa DNR researchers are trying to determine if those same factors apply to Iowa deer hunters.

"In Iowa, we know that some hunters hunt deer every year while others hunt only sporadically," said research biologist Steve Roberts. Since having a large number of deer hunters hunting deer each year is important in reducing Iowa's deer population, the DNR needs to know if the factors that control Iowa hunters' participation is any different than the factors that drive participation in other states.

The help comes in the form of a survey, which examines factors that affect participation in deer hunting. Roughly 14,000 Iowa deer hunters were mailed a postcard in early April asking them to respond via the internet. Due to slow response, those who did not respond were recently sent a second printed survey with postage paid envelope. Responses via the internet are still preferred to expedite analysis of the information and reduce costs; however if a hunter does not have access to the internet or chooses not respond online, they should fill out the printed survey and return it in the postage paid envelop they receive in the mail.

"We knew that several individuals, but not everyone, had access to the internet and we knew that some people might rather respond to a printed survey than a survey that used the internet," said research biologist Peter Fritzell, who is helping analyze the data. "Either way, the information is crucial to improving the deer hunting experience in Iowa