ND Outdoors: hunter harvest surveys

Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 9:57 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Even though most of North Dakota’s 2021 hunting seasons have been put to bed, hunter success, or lack thereof, still matters.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has conducted hunter harvest surveys for more than a half-century to gain valuable information from hunters after seasons close.

“We use that information that we get back from these hunter harvest surveys to compare that against where we’re at with our harvest objectives at any point in a given year. And that can mean, in some cases, license increases. That can sometimes mean that we decrease the number of licenses,” said Chad Parent, Game and Fish survey coordinator.

Surveys are sent out shortly after hunting seasons close, and at this time of year, these are the surveys hunters can expect to see.

“It’s going to include the elk season, the swan season, small game and waterfowl, fall turkey and the deer bow season. And it’s always a push to get those surveys out and into hunters’ hands in a timely manner as all of those seasons close,” said Parent.

Not every hunter who buys a license will receive a hunter harvest survey.

“We choose intentionally to design our surveys so that a random sample of hunters get those surveys. And you know, that has a lot of helpful statistical properties built in, but ultimately, what it means is that we understand the people that did not harvest a deer. Which is in a lot of ways it’s just as important as knowing who did harvest a deer,” said Parent.

To save time and money, the Game and Fish Department has changed the way hunters receive surveys.

“We’re going to send out a survey to a hunter’s email inbox and give them the opportunity to complete the survey right away over the internet. And again, if we don’t hear back from them, that is when we’ll use the mail and print them a paper version of that survey so that they can return it that way,” said Parent.

If you do receive a survey through email or in your mailbox, it takes less than a minute to fill out and provides valuable information for managing our state’s wildlife populations.

Hunter response rate to surveys is around 60 percent, depending on the survey.

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