Arizona Big Game Hunter Survey Results

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A newly released independent study shows Arizona hunters feel having more opportunities to hunt is more important than hunt quality or outcome of the hunt.

"This agency has always prided itself on providing hunters with the highest quality hunting experience it can," says Arizona Game and Fish Department Deputy Director Steve Ferrell. "However, hunt demand now far exceeds hunting opportunities. This survey provides us with another perspective for use in our management efforts so they may address our customers' expectations."

The two-part independent study was conducted for the Arizona Game and Fish Department by Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, Va., to determine Arizona hunters' attitudes toward the state’s big game hunter permit tag draw, as well as hunting participation, hunting characteristics, and attitudes toward hunting.

Responsive Management, which is an internationally recognized public opinion and attitude survey research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, conducted the study via an Internet survey of hunters who applied for an Arizona big game hunt permit tag for fall 2006, plus a telephone survey of those who didn’t respond to the Web survey. The entire study can be accessed on the department’s Web site by clicking here.

"Of the 13 different factors related to the hunting experience, getting to go hunting ranked the highest in importance among respondents," says Mark Damian Duda, the executive director of Responsive Management. "Most people also said having more frequent opportunities to hunt big game is more important than actually harvesting a trophy animal."

Duda says the surveys show twice as many hunters would be willing to accept lower hunt success rates, if it meant they would be drawn and have an opportunity to hunt more often.

Of six different factors related to a successful hunting experience, having the opportunity to hunt ranked the highest in importance among respondents, closely followed by spending time with family and learning to hunt and develop skills, with majorities rating each of these factors as extremely important. Harvesting a trophy animal ranked the lowest in importance, according to the study.

Department officials say the study is important in helping the agency to best meet the needs and desires of its customers both now and in the future, and the study results also have implications for another critical area – hunter recruitment and retention. "Opportunities to hunt, including increased chances of success in the big game hunt permit tag draw, are important to hunter retention," say big game applicants.