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Wednesday, January 31 • 8:20am - 8:40am
CONSERVATION COLLABORATION & GENERAL WILDLIFE: Motivations and Characteristics of Participants in a Tournament Grouse Hunt

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AUTHORS. Alisha S. Grams, University of Nebraska; Christopher J. Chizinski, University of Nebraska

ABSTRACT. Several studies have assessed the motivations of tournament anglers, but fewer studies have explored the motivations among tournament hunters. The Sharptail Shootout is a hunting tournament in rural Nebraska.  The goal of the tournament is to harvest the greatest amount of grouse (Sharptail grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus and Prairie Chicken T. cupido) using the least amount of shells (25 maximum) in a 5-hunter team. All hunters must comply with the daily bag limit regulation. We conducted in-person surveys to collect information on motivations to participate in the tournament, mentorship in grouse hunting, and characteristics and motivations of using dogs to grouse hunt. Most respondents to the survey were residents of Nebraska and 97% were male. A majority of hunters that participated in the tournament had more than 30 years of hunting experience and most brought a dog to the hunt. The most important motivations for participating in the tournament were to spend time with friends and the opportunity to hunt Sharptail Grouse and Prairie Chicken in great habitat. Obtaining the bag limit, competition with other teams, and enjoying the solitude were the least important motivations to participating in the tournament.  A friend or family member mentored most of the respondents that indicated they were mentored in grouse hunting. It appears that hunters in this tournament were more motivated by the comradery and the opportunities to hunt grouse in the unique habitat of the Sandhills, rather than competitive aspects observed in tournament anglers. Understanding motivations of tournament hunters allows managers to provide unique opportunities to certain hunting populations, meanwhile allowing enthusiasts the opportunity to find comradery in an activity that is declining. Knowing that mentorship was a key aspect to their hunting career, we may be able to target a hunting population that could assist with recruitment and retention efforts.

Wednesday January 31, 2018 8:20am - 8:40am CST