Achieving state wildlife agency biological goals for deer (Odocoileus spp.) management may often conflict with hunter desires. Concomitantly, better information is needed to optimize agency deer herd management goals with hunters’ social goals. In 2016, we surveyed 3,000 North Dakota, USA, resident deer hunters using a self-administered mail survey to gain a better understanding of motivations, satisfaction, and hunter demographics that may be used to inform hunter recruitment and retention (HRR) efforts during a period of reduced statewide deer populations. With deer-gun license availability strictly limited, we explored the possibility that some gun hunters may have been engaging in archery deer hunting as a substitute activity. We also explored motivations for deer hunting in North Dakota by segregating respondents into n = 2 groups: those who preferred deer hunting with a gun vs. those who preferred archery equipment. We then compared ratings of 8 hunting motivations (meat, trophy, nature, excitement, social, skills, challenge, and solitude) by preferred hunting implement and gender differences. We further defined primary motivation by their selection of the most important motivation for participation in North Dakota deer hunting. A majority (58%) of archery hunter applicants preferred to hunt deer with a gun; 42% preferred a bow. Respondents who preferred hunting with archery equipment were slightly more motivated by nature aspects of the hunt whereas those who preferred hunting with a gun placed slightly more value on social aspects. Among motivation ratings, social was rated similarly by females and males, and females rated meat as significantly more important for hunting deer. We used logistic regression to test for differences in satisfaction in relation to deer hunter attributes; probability of satisfaction increased with harvest success, preference for hunting with archery equipment, and nature and social motivations for hunting. A proportion of deer-gun hunters who were restricted by lower license availability via lottery may have turned to archery deer hunting as an alternative. Therefore, typical HRR messages aimed at archery hunters (e.g., nature, challenge) may not resonate as well with North Dakota archery deer license applicants who appeared to be less challenge-oriented than socially-oriented.
Originally published in Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 12 : Iss. 3 , Article 13.
Black, Kristen E.; Jensen, William F.; Newman, Robert; and Boulanger, Jason, "Motivations and satisfaction of North Dakota deer hunters during a temporal decline in deer populations" (2018). Biology Faculty Publications. 24.