Date of Award
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Neelam C. Poudyal
Don Hodges, Roger Applegate
Small game hunting and trapping is an important outdoor recreation activity in the United States with millions of people participating each year. However, in the past decade, participation in small game hunting alone has declined by 27%. Hunting participation declines are concerning because of the loss of tradition and conservation funding generated from hunting. To address this issue, we need to understand what impacts small game hunters’ and trappers’ motivations and satisfaction. Understanding these cognitions is important because of their potential influence on an individual’s intentions to participate in the future. Currently, little information exists in the context of small game hunters and trappers.
To fill this gap, this study analyzed responses from a mix-method survey of Tennessee small game hunters and trappers to understand the motivations of small game hunters and trappers and how various factors, such as pre-season expectations, influence individual’s satisfaction with the hunting/trapping season. Of 3,994 surveys completed (response rate 27%), 1,440 were small game hunters and trappers. Results from an exploratory factor and cluster analysis found that Tennessee small game hunters and trappers possess a variety of motivations to participate beyond harvesting an animal. Most hunters and trappers had expected the 2019-20 season to be like an average year (68%) and were satisfied with the season (65%). Results from an ordinal logistic regression revealed various factors, such as expectations and motivations to participate, influence hunters’ and trappers’ seasonal satisfaction. These findings shed light on what motivates small game hunters and trappers to participate and what factors influence small game hunters’ and trappers’ seasonal satisfaction. The results from this study could help wildlife agencies increase the retention of current small game hunters and trappers.
Davan, Kiley, "An assessment of small game hunters’ and trappers’ motivations, satisfaction, and constraints. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2021.