Constraints on Hunter Effort in Illinois

Eric M. Wahlberg, Dan Stephens, Craig Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Hunting participation in the United States, including Illinois, has declined over the past several decades. During the last 10 years, hunting license purchases among Illinois residents has decreased by 10%. Illinois and other states have committed to recruit, retain, and reengage hunters. Declining hunting participation may limit the effectiveness of hunting as a management tool. Our goal is to determine the impact of demographic, experiential, personal, and regulatory constraints on hunting participation during the 2017-2018 hunting seasons in Illinois. In 2018, we randomly sampled 6,102 Illinois residents that purchased an Illinois hunting license between 2006 and 2016. A mail-based questionnaire was used to determine their hunting participation and constraints to hunting participation in Illinois. We received 1,367 questionnaires for a 25% response rate. Constraints to hunting participation among Illinois residents was analyzed using bivariate analyses and logistic regression models. Among respondents, 56% indicated that their hunting effort over the last 5 years had decreased. Less than half of respondents (45%) hunted during the 2017-2018 hunting seasons in Illinois and hunting participation rates decreased drastically among hunters that do not hunt every year. The leading causes for decreased hunting effort were: hunting skills and knowledge, health problems, and frequency of hunting participation. Our model correctly classified hunting effort among 71% of respondents. In conclusion, we found that past experience and personal constraints had the greatest impact on hunting effort among Illinois residents during the 2017-2018 hunting seasons.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMidwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020
StatePublished - 2020


  • INHS


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