Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jason R. Boulanger

Second Advisor

Robert A. Newman


Achieving state wildlife agency biological goals for deer (Odocoileus spp.) and turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) rely on high quality data collection via hunter harvest surveys. Concomitantly, better information is needed to optimize best survey methods. From 2017 to 2019, we surveyed North Dakota, USA, deer and fall turkey hunters using a self-administered mail control survey and 3 mixed-mode internet/mail surveys to gain a better understanding of alternative survey designs that may be used to estimate harvest of game populations and inform future management efforts. Our first objective was to measure response rates across various segments of deer and fall turkey hunters in North Dakota, and across mixed-mode treatments that could easily be implemented with existing wildlife agency resources. Our second objective was to investigate and understand factors that may be associated with hunters returning certain treatment modes to further North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s ability to tailor surveys to certain demographic groups and account for those over or underrepresented. We found that internet-mail and mail-internet mixed mode survey treatments resulted in significantly increased response rates than a traditional mail-only survey mode, supporting our hypothesis. We also found that hunters who successfully harvested an animal were more likely to return questionnaires shortly after the initial wave of surveying. Finally, we found that older, nonresident, and urban hunters were more likely to return questionnaires. Our research demonstrates potential use of tailored mixed-mode surveys to increase response rates, reduce bias, and potentially reduce administrative costs.