Wildlife Agency Trust and Perceived Risks From Chronic Wasting Disease

Jerry J. Vaske, Mark D. Needham, Craig A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the extent that hunters’ perceptions of risks related to chronic wasting disease (CWD) and trust in state wildlife agencies to address CWD were related to their demographic (sex, age, education, residence) and hunting (CWD presence, type of hunter, years hunting in state, harvest) characteristics. Demographic and hunting characteristics have been suggested by some managers and researchers to be strongly related to perceived risks and trust in wildlife agencies. We obtained data from a mail survey (n = 9,567) of hunters in 8 states (2004). Demographic and hunting characteristics were statistically related to both risk and trust, but the relationships were complex for several reasons. First, although the demographic variables were significantly related to both risk and trust in 11 of the 15 tests, almost all of the effect sizes (η) were minimal (<0.100; (Formula presented.) = 0.051). For the hunting characteristics, 11 of the 12 tests were significant (P ≤ 0.038), but the average effect size was only 0.059. Second, hierarchical linear regression analyses indicated that although 65% of the beta coefficients (another effect size indicator) were significant (P < 0.001), the average standardized regression coefficient was only 0.066 (minimal). Third, not all demographic and hunting characteristics were related to risk and trust in the same manner. For example, in the regression models, sex was never statistically significant. Other variables (resident of the state, education, harvest) were always significant. Finally, all R2 (explained variance) were <5%. The weak relationships between demographic and hunting characteristics and both risk and trust suggest that managers should be cautious when targeting communication messages about CWD to specific subgroups of hunters based on these characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-607
Number of pages11
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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