INHS Human Dimensions Research Program
Institution: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Department: Illinois Natural History Survey
Featured research (10)
We sampled 1,200 of 2020-21 resident Illinois trapping license purchasers from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources licensing database. Licensees were mailed an 8-page questionnaire, and we received 639 (54%) questionnaires. Trapping license sales increased 7.8% from 2019-20 (6,698) to 2020-21 (7,217). Trappers set an average of 14.7 traps for an average of 26.9 days or nights during the 2020-21 season and harvested an estimated 163,292 furbearers (up 25.9% from the 129,689 harvested in 2019-20). An estimated 72,838 raccoons (Procyon lotor) were trapped during the 2020-21 Illinois trapping season, an increase of 7.2% from the estimated 67,915 trapped during the 2019-20 season. Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) harvest was the next highest at 31,703 muskrats (96.8% increase from the previous year).
A total of 1,805 (37% response rate) Illinois waterfowl hunters returned usable questionnaires to the 2020-21 Illinois Waterfowl Hunter Survey. An estimated 39,525 adult waterfowl hunters spent 1 day or more afield during 2020-21, an increase of 12.3% from 35,185 hunters during the 2019-20 seasons. Waterfowl hunters spent 837,609 days afield, a decrease of 0.1% from the 841,828 days devoted during the 2019-20 license year. Total estimated waterfowl harvest decreased 13.9%, from 471,872 during 2019-20 seasons to 406,259 during 2020-21. Duck harvest estimates for the regular duck season were as follows: 127,525 mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), 35,335 wood ducks (Aix sponsa), and 88,081 other ducks. A total of 18,967 teal (Anas spp.) were harvested during the September teal season. Goose hunters harvested 94,510 Canada geese (Branta canadensis) during the regular Canada goose season, a 10.9% increase from the 85,188 Canada geese harvested during the 2019-20 regular goose season. Hunters harvested 16,811 Canada geese during the September Canada goose season, a 9.0% increase from the previous year. During the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season, 5,029 adults took 6,950 youths waterfowl hunting, a 24.5% increase in adult participation and a 53.5% increase in youth participation from the 2019-20 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season. Hunter preferences for seasons and satisfaction with the waterfowl seasons are also discussed.
A random sample of 5,000 Illinois resident hunters was selected from adult 2020 Illinois resident Habitat Stamp and hunting license holders. Selected individuals were mailed an 8-page self-administered questionnaire designed to query hunters about their hunting activities and harvest in Illinois. We received 2,240 questionnaires, 2,052 of which were usable, for a 42% response rate. Illinois resident license sales increased 3% from 2019-20 (242,704) to 249,554 for the 2020-21 seasons. Total days afield decreased for rabbit, quail, pheasant, woodcock, gray squirrel, fox squirrel, turkey, red fox, gray fox, and opossum. Harvest increased for 6 game species (wild pheasant, groundhog, deer, raccoon, gray fox, and coyote) from 2019-20. Hunters were also asked questions regarding hunting activity and harvest in Illinois, proposed hunting regulations, impacts of COVID-19 on hunting, ticks and tick-borne diseases, and perceived effects of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) and Blue Tongue Virus (BTV) on deer hunting. Estimates of wild quail and pheasant harvested beginning with the 2011-12 season were calculated differently than previous estimates to include harvest of captive-raised birds distinct from wild birds, so comparisons with seasons prior to 2011-12 are to be made with caution.
Harvest of light geese (Anser caerulescens, Anser rossii) during the 2021 Illinois Light Goose Conservation Order was estimated at 90,392. An estimated 2,732 hunters participated in the 2021 Illinois Light Goose Conservation Order. Hunters spent an estimated 32,369 days afield during 2021, and the majority (55.7%) of the snow (light) goose harvest occurred during the month of February. Hunters were sampled from Harvest Information Program (HIP) registrants who reported they hunted snow and other light geese (including Ross’ and Blue geese) during the 2020 Light Goose Conservation Order. One in 10 hunters had increased harvest of light goose over the previous 5 years. Approximately twenty-one percent of active light goose hunters used a guide or outfitter while hunting light geese during the 2021 Order. Due to changes in sampling of addresses and calculation of estimates, comparisons should not be made to years prior to 2014.
A total of 2,125 (44% response rate) Illinois waterfowl hunters returned usable questionnaires to the 2019-20 Illinois Waterfowl Hunter Survey. An estimated 35,185 adult waterfowl hunters spent 1 day or more afield during 2019-20, a decrease of 12.1% from the 40,047 hunters in 2018-19. Waterfowl hunters spent 841,828 days afield, an increase of 1.3 % from the 831,043 days devoted during the 2018-19 license year. Total waterfowl harvest increased 14.4%, from 412,402 during 2018-19 to 471,872 during 2019-20. Duck harvest estimates for the regular duck season were as follows: 164,043 mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), 51,564 wood ducks (Aix sponsa), and 108,340 other ducks. A total of 19,268 teal (Anas spp.) were harvested during the September teal season. Goose hunters harvested 85,188 Canada geese (Branta canadensis) during the regular Canada goose season, a 19.9% increase from the 71,035 Canada geese harvested during the 2018-19 regular goose season. Hunters harvested 15,429 Canada geese during the September Canada goose season, an 17.2% increase from the previous year. During the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season, 4,039 adults took 4,528 youths waterfowl hunting, a 16.2% decrease in adult participation and a 21.6% decrease in youth participation from the 2018-19 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season. Hunter preferences for seasons and satisfaction with the waterfowl seasons are also discussed.
Linda K. Campbell
Lauren J Stephens