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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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T09: Human Dimensions: Wildlife [clear filter]
Monday, January 28
 

1:20pm EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: WILDLIFE) Use of Surveys to Enhance R3 Programs
AUTHORS: Kristen Black, Illinois Learn to Hunt; Daniel Stephens, Illinois Learn to Hunt; Craig Miller, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Surveys are commonly used to drive the development of public programs and to determine efficacy of those programs. This presentation will discuss how the Illinois Learn to Hunt program has used a series of surveys given to program participants and the public to drive the creation of a successful hunter recruitment, retention, and reengagement (R3) program in Illinois. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to, survey creation, survey implementation, statistical analyses, and how survey results affect program management and execution.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

1:40pm EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: WILDLIFE) Psychological Involvement and Constraints to Hunting Participation: Implications for R3 Research
AUTHORS: Adam Landon, Illinois Natural History Survey; Craig Miller, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jerry Vaske, Colorado State University; James Absher, Environmental Sociologist

ABSTRACT: Research on recruitment, retention, and re-engagement (R3) has become increasingly important for fish and wildlife management agencies that are seeking to bolster participation in hunting and fishing, and ensure fiscal sustainability through increased license sales. To date, however, much of the literature surrounding R3 has been ad hoc with respect to theory explaining patterns of recreation behavior. In this study, we drew on the human dimensions literature to understand the influence of psychological involvement and perceived constraints on hunters’ commitment to the activity as potential new explanatory frameworks for R3 research. We hypothesized that hunters’ psychological involvement in the activity positively influenced their prolonged engagement, operationalized from patterns of hunting license purchase, and that perceived constraints had a negative effect. Data for this study were drawn from a large-scale cohort-based survey of Illinois hunters (n=6,000). Hunters were randomly sampled in age cohorts at two-year intervals based on their date of hunting license purchase over the period 2006-2018. Results suggested that psychological involvement may play an important role in hunters’ commitment to the activity, but that hunters placed different levels of importance on different aspects of involvement. Findings further suggested that perceived constraints negatively influenced commitment, whereby more constrained hunters’ were less engaged over time. Results of this study have implications for mechanism for R3 activity. Although demographic changes underpin broad patterns of hunting license sales, additional factors like involvement and constraints may account for commitment to the activity.

Monday January 28, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

2:00pm EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: WILDLIFE) Guiding Hunter Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation: A Market-Driven Approach
AUTHORS: Dan Stephens, Kristen Black, Dr. Craig Miller – Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Hunters in Illinois have long faced constraints to hunting. Socioeconomic and demographic trends suggest that the public is becoming isolated from the relevancy and importance of hunting. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey have partnered on an adult hunter recruitment initiative aimed at addressing a long-term decline in hunter numbers. In order to develop an objective strategy to mitigate the decline of hunting participation in Illinois, an analysis of market segments, messaging, and imagery is needed to guide hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) efforts. Using web tracking, hunter harvest surveys, license buying data, focus groups, and socioeconomic data the Learn to Hunt program was able to define distinct market segments, market characteristics, and marketing themes. These market segments are defined as: locavores, nature lovers, competitors, and social enthusiasts. Web tracking through newsletters, social media, and program website analytics allowed for testing the response rate of various messages and imagery. Moving forward, R3 programs will need to develop a comprehensive marketing plan that cumulatively addresses market segmentation aimed at testing the effectiveness of various messaging themes and imagery.  

Monday January 28, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

2:20pm EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: WILDLIFE) University Students and Bears: Understanding Attitudes Among Future Stakeholders
AUTHORS: Haley Netherton, Mike Rader, Shawn Crimmins, Brenda Lackey, Cady Sartini – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

ABSTRACT: Increasing global bear populations and human-bear conflicts have made it more imperative to understand public attitudes towards bears and management interventions. Management methods vary in effectiveness and public support, further complicating the management of bears and other large carnivores. Without proper understanding of public attitudes towards bears and specific management actions, conflict can ensue between stakeholders and managers. To address this need, we conducted a survey of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), as they will become the next stakeholders and policymakers. The objective of our study was to evaluate university student attitudes towards bears and their management and determine the associated factors, including personal experience with bears, socio-cultural influences, and stakeholder group membership. UWSP students tend to favor education and relocation as management tools, with education creating the least conflict. Destruction of the bear is more favorable as conflict escalates, but remains fairly controversial. Our results suggest that college of study and personal experience may be correlated with attitudes towards management interventions. Significant differences in students grouped by attitude towards bears were found for multiple management actions across several encounter situations. Students in the positive attitude group significantly differed from students in the mixed/negative attitude group in their responses towards monitoring the situation, providing education for locals, and destruction of the bear in all five contexts of increasing conflict in a neighborhood setting (all p < 0.001). The effect sizes for these differences suggest minimal to substantial relationships between respondents’ general attitude towards bears and their attitude towards a management action in a specific encounter context (d = 0.304-0.894). The results of this study will contribute to the greater body of literature that can be used to inform the best management options for bears and other large carnivores in a particular socio-demographic context. 

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B

2:40pm EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: WILDLIFE) Tolerance of Restored Wildlife: Landowner Attitudes Toward Elk in Northwest Minnesota
AUTHORS: Eric Walberg, Minnesota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Minnesota; Gino D'Angelo, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia; David C. Fulton, U.S. Geological Survey, Minnesota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit; Lou Cornicelli, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Reintroduction is an important tool used to restore elk (Cervus elaphus) populations to their native ranges in North America, though private landowners may be negatively impacted due to damage to private property (e.g., agricultural crops, fences). Restoration of elk populations in northwest Minnesota began in the 1920’s, yet elk numbers have remained low and the species is currently managed at low levels to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. The long-term viability of elk populations in Minnesota depends on landowner tolerance and public support for elk. Past studies have found that most individuals affected by elk normally do not participate in actions that impact the elk population, though as human-elk interactions increase individuals’ start undertaking actions either negatively or positively impacting the elk population. Actions that negatively impact wildlife indicate intolerance of a species and actions that positively impact a species indicate stewardship. We conducted a census of landowners within elk range in northwest Minnesota (N = 768) using a mail-based questionnaire to assess landowner attitudes toward elk and elk management in northwest Minnesota. Our theoretical framework posits that tolerance can be represented using three concepts: (1) Wildlife Acceptance Capacity (WAC); (2) attitudes toward elk; and (3) trust in the responsible management agency. Our research objectives were to understand tolerance of elk in northwest Minnesota among landowners and determine the effectiveness of our model at measuring tolerance of elk populations. The analysis supported two conclusions: (1) a majority of landowners have neutral tolerance attitudes toward elk (55%), and (2) landowner attitudes toward elk and WAC are effective measures of landowner tolerance of the elk population in northwest Minnesota.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST
CENTER STREET ROOM B