Hunters satisfied with controlled hunts, but will consider options
By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist
Idaho Fish and Game recently conducted a survey to “take the pulse” of hunters about controlled-hunt drawings, and the majority of them are satisfied with the current system. The approval percentage is also higher than it was a decade ago.
Based on a random, mail-based survey, which is the “gold standard” of scientific surveys, 58 percent of hunters agreed with the statement “I am satisfied with the current controlled-hunt drawing system.” Another 33 percent said they were dissatisfied, and 9 percent were neutral.
Satisfaction with the controlled-hunt system is 16 points higher than a similar survey in 2005, and the controlled-hunt system has not significantly changed since then.
Questions and Answers
More than a third of all Idaho hunters apply for controlled hunts, so it’s important that Fish and Game knows how hunters feel about the way controlled-hunt tags are allocated. Fish and Game did similar surveys in 2005, but the current commissioners were not serving at that time. Controlled hunts account for a large volume of big game tags. Fish and Game offered controlled hunt tags for about 22,000 elk, 17,000 deer and 2,300 pronghorn. Pronghorn, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat tags are available only through controlled-hunt drawings.
Fish and Game is also frequently asked why it doesn’t have a point system to increase odds for unsuccessful controlled-hunt applicants similar to those in many other Western states.
Answer 2: It was valuable for Fish and Game officials to see the similarities and difference in the results using three methods. The random mail survey is considered the most accurate gauge of hunters’ opinions because they were randomly selected from the entire pool of licensed hunters.
The department does not have email addresses for all hunters, so that’s a smaller pool and not necessarily representative of the entire cross section of hunters. But an email survey is cheaper and less labor intensive than a mail survey because there’s no printing or postage involved, and the results are automatically entered and tabulated by the computer rather than manually by Fish and Game staff.
An open internet survey is inherently biased because people can campaign for or against certain topics and encourage others who agree with them to take the survey. However, it’s also good gauge of how strongly segments of hunters feel about something.