The sustainability of controlled archery programs: The motivation and satisfaction of suburban hunters

Authors

  • Mark Weckel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Mianus River Gorge Preserve, 167 Mianus River Road, Bedford, NY 10506, USA
    2. Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park W at 79th St, New York, NY 10024, USA
    3. The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA
    • Mianus River Gorge Preserve, 167 Mianus River Road, Bedford, NY 10506, USA.
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  • Robert F. Rockwell,

    1. Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park W at 79th St, New York, NY 10024, USA
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  • Anastasia Wincorn

    1. Mianus River Gorge Preserve, 167 Mianus River Road, Bedford, NY 10506, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Porter

Abstract

Over the last decade, wildlife professionals in the New York City (NY, USA) metropolitan area have increasingly turned to controlled archery hunts to reduce overabundant suburban deer populations. The success of these deer management programs (DMPs) depends on a willing pool of hunters motivated to meet harvest goals. This requires maintaining hunter satisfaction both now, and in the future when successful herd reduction will result in fewer opportunities for deer harvest. With the goal of providing local deer managers with feedback from hunters partaking in DMPs, we used surveys designed to evaluate why members hunted, why they joined DMPs, members' views on deer management, and ultimately, their satisfaction with controlled hunts. Members were primarily motivated to hunt by the chance to see wildlife, opportunities for recreation, and a passion for archery. Most (71%) reported that their enjoyment had increased since first joining a DMP and satisfaction was not linked to harvest opportunity or success. Nevertheless, we documented several trends that threaten the long-term sustainability of DMPs. First, 78.2% of survey respondents were over the age of 40, possibly suggesting fewer younger recruits into DMPs. Second, the opportunity to hunt previously unhunted land, a transitory incentive, was the most common reason for participating in DMPs. Third, respondents whose DMP doe harvest was limited by choosing to spend time on private, non-DMP land were also more likely to have seen fewer deer on DMP lands (G-test = 13.2, df = 4, P = 0.01). This suggests that effort will decline as deer herds decline. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

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