HUNTER AND TOURIST OUTFITTER PREFERENCES FOR REGULATING MOOSE HUNTING IN NORTHEASTERN ONTARIO
Keywords:calf moose, hunting regulations, moose hunters, selective harvest system, social surveys, tourist outfitters
It is important for managers to understand preferences of moose (Alces alces) hunters and other stakeholders regarding options for harvest management. We determined harvest preferences of resident moose hunters and tourist outfitters in 2013 in northeastern Ontario, Canada through surveys that provided 5 management options. We tested 2 hypotheses: 1) that moose hunters will support options that are least impactful to them, and 2) that tourist outfitters will support restrictive calf harvest regulations more than resident hunters. We found little support for the first hypothesis as resident hunters and tourist outfitters ranked the status quo as the second least and least preferable option, respectively. Resident hunters and tourist outfitters preferred shortened seasons for adult moose and less than a week long season for calves that would result in major departure from the status quo. We contend that this support arises because the hunters and outfitters are responding to the expectation of increased opportunities to hunt adult moose if they accept more restrictive regulations. Consistent with the second hypothesis, tourist outfitters preferred options focused on restricting calf hunting opportunities more than resident hunters because clientele of tourist outfitters generally have low demand for calf hunts. Resident hunters from areas where adult moose hunting opportunities were scarcer were surprisingly, less supportive than other hunters of change from an open to controlled hunt for calf moose. Individuals in both groups that responded by mail, versus online, had stronger support for the status quo.
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