Natural resource agencies expend resources (e.g., time, funds) to develop information and education programs on an array of issues. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has developed programs to inform hunters and non-hunters about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer. The IDNR has also held public meetings throughout the state since 2003, the year the disease was first discovered in Illinois. We developed six CWD knowledge questions based on hunters’ comments during public meetings, in newspaper letters to editors, and from events such as outdoor shows. The statements focused on the origin, extent, and mortality associated with CWD, and were coded as correct / incorrect responses. These questions were included in a statewide mail study of CWD using 11,000 randomly sampled hunters in Illinois. We computed a knowledge scale combining total correct and incorrect responses for each hunter. We examined the relationship between knowledge and: (a) support for targeted-removal of deer, (b) current and proposed IDNR management efforts (e.g., extended seasons, increased permits, increased testing, mandatory testing) and (c) hunter demographics (e.g., age, gender, location of residence in the state). Across all analyses, knowledge was not statistically related to any of the variables in question. It is often assumed that stakeholders would express greater support for management efforts if individuals had greater knowledge of the subject. This relationship was not observed in this study.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference 2020|
|State||Published - 2020|