Assessing public opinions of wildlife management : influences of perceptions and public involvement methods
Involving the public in wildlife management is important to achieve effective and acceptable policies. An accurate assessment of public opinion can be complicated by the public's prior knowledge, perceptions, and the method of public input used. This paper evaluates some factors which may have influenced a public involvement project the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) implemented in 1990. It outlines the current mule deer situation in eastern Oregon, and discusses the agency's management objectives and some possible management strategies. The primary focus is on the preferred strategy, controlled entry hunting. A survey was sent out to eastern Oregon mule deer hunters to determine their opinions and attitudes on several issues, especially on alternative policies to regulate hunting. At the same time, public meetings and workshops were held to discuss problems and concerns about mule deer and their management. Manuscript I evaluates hunters' perceptions of "quality hunts" and determines that controlled hunts are marginally better at supplying quality hunting experiences than open hunts. It then compares hunters' knowledge and perceptions of mule deer hunting with I) their opinions of a controlled entry
policy, and 2) their willingness to accept the consequences of that policy -- reduced opportunity to hunt. Four of the seven factors studied appear related to at least one of the two topics, with knowledge and perceptions of crowding having positive correlations with both. Manuscript 2 analyzes some of the differences in opinion between people who attended ODFW meetings and survey respondents. Meeting attenders had more polarized opinions than the survey respondents on almost every topic studied, with more positive and more negative responses. On average, meeting attenders had lower opinions of current management, were more likely to believe mule deer populations and habitat were worsening, and were slightly more favorable towards controlled entry management.
Advisor:Johnson, Rebecca L.
School:Oregon State University
School Location:USA - Oregon
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:wildlife management oregon public opinion
Date of Publication:06/27/1994