Woodcock Hunting Survey Provides Skinny On Hunter Satisfaction And Trends

Woodcock Hunting Survey Provides Skinny On Hunter Satisfaction And Trends

Ruffed Grouse Society
Ruffed Grouse Society

Coraopolis, PA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The results of a woodcock hunting survey suggest that a typical woodcock hunter is a 40 plus year old male, who hunts woodcock primarily while hunting for other game animals, (grouse, bobwhite quail and rabbits); hunts woodcock 10 days or less each year and harvests 10 or fewer woodcock each season.

Conducted by the Ruffed Grouse Society, the mailed questionnaire which randomly queried 2,025 hunters nationwide also revealed that 19-percent of the respondents hunt woodcock in more than one state or Province.

When it came to harvest numbers over the last five years, 56-percent said they shot five or less, 24-percent between 6 and 10, 14-percent 11-20 and 6-percent killed between 21-50. None of those surveyed indicated they harvested 50 or more.

The survey showed most woodcock hunters appear satisfied with the current season and bag limit structure. Seventy percent feel that the 3-bird daily bag limit is adequate; 7-percent said it was to low, 6-percent thought it was too high and 17-percent had no opinion.

As for the length of the season, 61-percent said the season was sufficient, 16-percent said it was too short; 2-percent thought it too high and 21-percent had no opinion.

Although the highest percentage of respondents (38-percent) stated the overall quality of woodcock hunting has remained about the same over the past 5 years, hunters who feel that it has gotten worse (33-percent) far outnumber those who feel it has become better (17-percent). Likewise, although the majority of woodcock hunters (52-percent) are hunting about the same number of days as they were 5 years ago, 26-percent said they are hunting less, while 13-percent said they are hunting more. Nine-percent haven’t hunted woodcock at all.

“This decline in hunter effort could be due to a perceived decline in hunt quality, or because hunters are getting older, or both,” said Dan Dessecker, RGS Director of Conservation Policy.

Of those woodcock hunters that expressed an opinion, 38-percent support the idea of establishing a $15 permit to hunt woodcock if the generated funds were used for woodcock habitat conservation, while 48-percent opposed, and 14-percent were unsure.

Not surprisingly, hunters who could be considered more dedicated (those who hunt more days each year or hunt in more than one state or province) are more likely to support a permit than are casual woodcock hunters.

Forty-seven percent of survey respondents suggest that they would, or probably would continue to hunt woodcock if required to purchase a permit in order to do so, while 40-percent said they would not, or probably would not continue to hunt woodcock if they had to pay an additional $15.

This collaborative survey was conducted to gain insight into what woodcock hunters think about their sport is the first such random, nationwide survey ever conducted.

The survey had a 27-percent response rate.

To view the RGS National Woodcock Migration Map

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage.

Information on the RGS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on the web at: www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.