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Cooperative National Dove Hunter Survey Questions and Answers

What is the Cooperative National Dove Hunter Survey (Dove Hunter Survey)?

The Dove Hunter Survey will ask successful dove hunters from across the U.S. to share their experiences and opinions about dove hunting. Topics will include learning about hunter characteristics, time spent hunting, their perceived constraints to hunting, and their thoughts about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.

Who is conducting the Dove Hunter Survey?

The Dove Hunter Survey is a cooperative effort by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), the National Flyway Council (NFC), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

What is the goal of the Dove Hunter Survey?

The survey is being conducted because hunter opinions and preferences are important and should be taken into account whenever possible. Results from this survey will give State and Federal managers a better understanding of what motivates dove hunters and what their perceptions about dove hunting are, including their thoughts on non-toxic shot. Results from this science-based hunter survey will give managers more information about our hunter constituency which will lead to more sound management and conservation of our migratory bird resources.

How will the information collected in the Dove Hunter Survey be used?

Although several states have conducted similar surveys, methods and questions have differed among those surveys, so results have not been directly comparable. This is a national effort, encompassing all regions of the county. The sample is large enough that results will be applicable at several spatial scales, from regional levels to nationwide. The results from this survey will allow State and Federal agencies to better communicate issues concerning dove hunting and to make more informed decisions when addressing issues related to dove hunting in the future.

How was the Dove Hunter Survey initiated?

In 2008 AFWA formed the Mourning Dove and Lead Toxicosis Working Group and recommended that human dimensions research on impact of spent lead ammunition on Mourning Doves be conducted. During the 2009 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, the Flyway Councils approved the survey concept, but recognized that they had very little information about dove hunters, particularly about the importance of dove hunting relative to other activities they engage in and their thoughts about how dove hunting currently is being conducted. All four Flyway Councils and some individual states obligated funds to implement a survey, but also agreed that the survey approach and methodology should be well-reviewed and supported by a broad constituency.

Beginning at the September 2009 AFWA meeting, survey objectives and underlying models were developed with input from the National Mourning Dove Task Force and the three Mourning Dove Management Units (Western, Central, and Eastern). Survey objectives were approved by the AFWA Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird Working Group, Bird Conservation Committee, and Mourning Dove Task Force, and also by each of the Mourning Dove Management Units. A draft survey was developed and distributed at the 2010 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference. Input on the methodology, models and the survey questions and format was solicited nationwide between March and June 2010. The Wildlife Management Institute hosted a meeting between National Shooting Sports Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to encourage industry input. Input from Flyway Councils and other stakeholders have been incorporated into final survey.

In July 2010 all four Flyway Councils approved the survey objectives, and in November 2010 the format was finalized and approved by all partners. The U.S. Government's Office of Budget and Management (OMB) approval subsequently was obtained for this survey, which was the last step necessary to allow the survey to be distributed to hunters.

Why was the Dove Hunter Survey initiated?

Managers recognize the need to understand hunters' motivations and their perceptions to better inform the regulation process and educational programs. In addition, recent concerns by hunters and other groups about potential impacts of lead ammunition on wildlife have prompted managers at all levels, from local wildlife areas to state agencies to national programs, to better understand hunters' thoughts regarding this issue. Conducting this survey does not mean that non-toxic shot will be required to hunt doves in the future.

Wasn't the Dove Hunter Survey supposed to be conducted last year?

Yes, the initial plan was for the survey to be mailed to selected hunters last year. Because of some confusion and misunderstanding regarding the goals of the survey, especially with regard to non-toxic shot, the FWS made the decision to delay the mailing of the survey. Over the last year, FWS, with other interested parties, conducted a final review to ensure all interested parties understand what information is being collected and how the data will be used. In an effort to reduce cost associated with reprinting the survey materials with the correct date/year, the FWS decided to mail the original survey materials that were printed last year.

When will the Dove Hunter Survey be implemented?

The Dove Hunter Survey is scheduled to be mailed to hunters in late June 2013, and analyses of responses will be completed by the end of 2013. The final report will be presented to the FWS, AFWA, and the NFC in March, 2014.

Planned schedule:

  • 20 June, 2013: First Mailing of the Survey to hunters
  • 15 Aug, 2013: Second Mailing (Follow-up)
  • 4 Oct, 2013: Final Follow-up Mailing
  • 18 Nov, 2013: Close data collection phase and begin analysis
  • 1 Mar, 2014: Final Report delivered to FWS, AFWA, and NFC