South Dakota GFP Surveys Sent Out

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Selected hunters who supply information about their hunting seasons will be helping the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department develop management strategies for next year's seasons.

The department is mailing survey cards to a limited number of hunters, asking them to please fill out and return the survey. Completed surveys are needed regardless of whether or not a recipient hunted and regardless of whether or not they were successful at harvesting a game animal.

The surveys are based on achieving a high response rate. If the first survey card is not returned in a timely manner, hunters will receive a second or even a third survey card.

"Our goal is to receive a response from each recipient," said Corey Huxoll, a biologist with the Wildlife Division. The survey mailings are timed so that hunters will receive them near the closing dates of each season.

"The answers hunters provide are important," Huxoll said. "That data supplements other information about wildlife populations and assists in the development of management strategies for the season next year."

Random samplings of hunters are surveyed for each season. Only those hunters who receive a survey through the mail are asked to respond.

Hunters may mail back their responses or respond through a Web site where they can record their activities from any of the hunting seasons in which they took part. However, hunters still need information from their survey card to gain entry to the Web site and answer questions specific to their license.

"Responding through the Web site allows hunters to answer the same general questions that are found on the survey card about the number of animals harvested, animal species and gender, how long they hunted and their degree of satisfaction with the hunt," Huxoll said. "The best part about using the Web site is the convenience for hunters, not to mention the cost savings and getting the information to the department faster. It not only saves the cost of return mail, but it also saves the time it takes to sort the returned cards and enter the information into the system."

Last year, more than 15,000 hunters responded to the survey through the Web site.