The Maryland Department of Natural Resources releases its Annual Hunters Survey on Tuesday. The survey was conducted on behalf of the department by Responsive Management, a leading survey research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues. 

The survey focused on the characteristics of Maryland’s hunters and the type of hunting they do, their use and satisfaction with hunting on Maryland’s Wildlife Management Areas, and their opinions on hunting-related issues. 

“The survey provides a wealth of information that will help us improve delivery of our programs to hunters in Maryland,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said.

Maryland hunters’ most-often hunted county is Frederick County (7% of hunters say this is their most hunted county). Five additional counties are at 6%: Baltimore, Carroll, Dorchester, Garrett, and Kent Counties, as shown in the map below.

White-tailed deer is the most popular game: 85% of hunters typically seek this species. Three more species have about a third of hunters seeking them: Canada geese, wild turkey, and ducks and mergansers. The graph shows the full listing.

The large majority of hunters want more days of Sunday hunting (72% want more), far exceeding either those who want the same level of Sunday hunting (18%) and those who want fewer days (7%), as shown in the graph below. Additionally, the large majority say that their hunting participation in Maryland would increase (69%) if there were more Sunday hunting days.

A slightly greater percentage of those with a hunting license and a stamp, compared to those with only a stamp, want more Sunday hunting, as shown below. (In the two databases provided by the Department for the sampling, some hunters were in both databases, having a hunting license and a migratory bird stamp, while some were in the database with only the migratory bird stamp.

Some crosstabulations, as shown below, were run of these groups.)

Support for Sunday hunting of migratory birds (53%) far exceeds opposition (16%) overall, with the remaining hunters having no opinion—this is among all hunters, including those without a migratory bird stamp.

When considering those with a migratory bird stamp, a look at a breakdown by those who had a hunting license and a migratory bird stamp versus those with only a migratory bird stamp (in the graph below) shows a high level of support among the two groups (66% among those with a license and a stamp; 62% among those with just a stamp).

In short, the level among those with a migratory bird stamp is higher than among all hunters.

Male family members remain the top way that hunters were introduced to hunting, most commonly their father.

More than half of license/stamp holders (59%) have taken, within the past 5 years, another person hunting who was, prior to that, new to hunting. Without the timeframe, 79% have ever taken someone hunting who is new to the sport.

The overwhelming majority of license/stamp holders (86%) support additional special hunting opportunities for youth in Maryland, and a large majority (71%) support additional special hunting opportunities for adults new to the sport.

As shown below, 52% of license/stamp holders say that they are very likely to mentor a new hunter within the next 5 years, and 21% say that they would be very likely to do so as part of an organized program.

The survey asked about four possible ways to encourage people to mentor a new hunter. For each of the ways, approximately half of the license/stamp holders would be more likely to mentor, but no way was markedly more effective than the other ways, based on responses to the question. The sum of much more likely and somewhat more likely is shown beneath each bar, as is the sum on the less likely side.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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