Anyone who has hunted in North Dakota may have received a hunter harvest survey in the mail from time to time. And right now is one of those times to watch for a survey in your inbox.
For most surveys, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department selects recipients at random, so the more people who complete and return surveys, the better the information.
“We ask hunters about their hunting activity because understanding how many animals have been removed from the population is very important ecological information,” said Chad Parent, the department’s survey coordinator. “We use the information we get from hunter catch surveys to compare where we are with our catch targets at any given time in a given year. And that can mean, in some cases, license increases. This can sometimes mean that we decrease the number of licenses, potentially in the case of a site that has been hit hard by EHD, for example. But ultimately, these surveys are important because they inform the recommendations we make to the governor during the proclamation process.
Thousands of big game, small game, waterfowl, swan, turkey and furbearer questionnaires will be emailed to randomly selected hunters. A follow-up survey will be mailed to those who did not respond to the first survey.
Not everyone who, for example, receives a harvest survey from hunters for the 2021 deer gun season will have harvested a deer, but Parent pointed out that those hunters still need to complete and return their surveys.
“We design our surveys so that a random sample of hunters get these surveys, and we understand that some hunters have not been successful, which in many ways is just as important as knowing who harvested. a deer,” he said.
Parent said hunter harvest surveys are short and take very little time to complete. He added that a follow-up survey will be mailed to those who did not respond to the emailed survey.
“The more surveys we receive from hunters, the stronger the statistical information to help us produce better harvest estimates,” Parent said. “I liken hunting harvest surveys to the work we do at Game and Fish. We do aerial surveys to count deer and we do road surveys to count upland game birds. The more time biologists spend on airplanes or on back roads in North Dakota, the better the estimates we get. And it’s exactly the same concept for hunter harvest surveys.
We are fortunate in North Dakota that our hunters are willing to provide accurate survey information, which in turn provides wildlife managers and biologists with the best data and information to help make future decisions about hunting seasons.
Hunters who participate in investigations with accurate and timely responses are a huge benefit to the department. Thank you to everyone who has completed surveys in the past and keep an eye on your inbox for future surveys.