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Hunters satisfied with controlled hunts, but would weigh options

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. There are no pending proposals to change the controlled-hunt system, but Fish and Game commissioners want to know if opinions have changed since 2005 when a similar survey was done.

The recent survey was done in October and November and got 12,600 responses through three methods: random mail, random email and an open survey on the department’s website. The basic messages from hunters were consistent, but the degrees by which people agreed or disagreed varied by different polling methods with people more likely to strongly agree or disagree in the open survey.

Hunters were asked in the mail survey if the current controlled-hunt system were altered, which options would they consider.

Some options had approval numbers similar to that of hunters’ satisfaction with the current system, which made Fish and Game officials curious why the majority of hunters were satisfied, but they also seemed to favor changes. Deeper analysis showed hunters satisfied and dissatisfied with the controlled-hunt system were willing to consider changes to it.

Both groups mutually disagreed with an option to change drawing odds by charging more to apply for trophy buck/bull hunts.

Asked if it was acceptable for Fish and Game to auction tags to help fund management, 54 percent of hunters in the mail survey agreed.

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