Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Minnesota Project

Minnesota Waterfowl Hunters 2011/12

September 2011 - December 2012


Participating Agencies

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Minnesota has generally been in the top 3 states for number of waterfowl hunters in the United States. In recent years we have expanded efforts to obtain quantitative information about opinions and motivations for this important clientele. Minnesota participated in the North American Duck Hunter Survey (Ringelman 1997) and Minnesota hunter responses were compared to those in other States (Lawrence and Ringelman 2001). More recently, reports documenting hunter activity and opinions following the 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2007 waterfowl hunting seasons were completed (Fulton et al. 2002, Schroeder et al. 2004, 2007a, 2008). A survey following the 2010 season is currently being analyzed. In addition, a series of surveys looking at hunter recruitment and retention were completed following the 2005 waterfowl hunting season (Schroeder et al. 2007b,c,d) and a study of former waterfowl hunters was completed following the 2009 season (Schroeder et al., 2011 draft). Information from these reports has been used to inform management decisions. We originally planned on completing the statewide survey at 3 year intervals, but have made exceptions. We conducted a survey in 2002 instead of 2003 to obtain current estimates of spinning-wing decoy use, and a limited survey was conducted following the 2007 waterfowl hunting season to evaluate changes in daily bag limits. We conducted a survey following the 2010 waterfowl season, but changes in waterfowl hunting regulations in 2011 necessitate the need for an additional hunter survey. Specifically, duck season opened 1 week earlier, shooting hours on opening day began at ½ hour before sunrise instead of 9 a.m., wood duck daily bag limit was increased from 2 to 3, and the hen mallard daily bag limit was increased from 1 to 2. In addition, 2010 was the first year Minnesota used zones for duck seasons. In 2011 we have the opportunity to add an additional zone. Thus, the survey will provide opinions on how hunters perceived the 2010 zones, and obtain recommendations for the 2011 zones. Objective: Identify hunter preferences/opinion on daily bag limits and zones relative to their satisfaction, success, and opinions/preferences on other waterfowl hunting and management issues. These results will be compared to results from previous Minnesota surveys and other hunter surveys. Determine how preferences/opinions vary based upon hunter characteristics. Basic Questionnaire Themes The questionnaire will be similar to the 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2010 questionnaires and many questions will be the same so we can compare hunter responses following different waterfowl seasons. In addition, questions on daily bag limits, duck zones and splits, Canada goose management, waterfowl hunting framework dates, and other current issues may be addressed. We will review questionnaires and results from other state waterfowl hunter surveys and coordinate with biologists in other states to assist in designing the Minnesota survey. In 2012, states can select a zone/split combination for the 2012-2015 period. This survey will also provide essential information for selecting the best option for Minnesota.