PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Division of Fish and Wildlife has partnered with Responsive Management, a professional survey research firm, to conduct a study of licensed Rhode Island hunters this spring. Designed to better understand hunting participation, experiences, preferences, and opinions in the state, the study is DEM's first major survey of licensed hunters in 15 years.
"This is one of many planned opportunities for DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife to collect constituent input that's essential for steward management," said DEM Supervising Wildlife Biologist David Kalb. "Our management of wildlife should be based on sound, science-based management and the values of the people that hunt and fish in Rhode Island. This is one way we can collect data on values and satisfaction. The study results are an important tool in maintaining and improving Division efforts to managing wildlife and providing hunting opportunities in the state."
The survey will be distributed to all hunters, ages 15 and up, who have purchased a Rhode Island hunting or trapping license within the past three years. Hunters with a valid email address in the RI hunt and fish licensing system will receive a link from Responsive Management to complete the survey. Hunters with no email address or invalid/bounce-back email addresses will be added to a telephone sample to increase coverage and will be contacted either via phone, text, or mail. Survey phone calls will come from a Providence area phone number. Responsive Management's goal is to reach an overall sample size of 3,000 hunters. DEM issued nearly 8,000 hunting licenses in 2021.
The best way for hunters to ensure participation is to confirm a working email address is associated with their profile in the RI hunt and fish licensing system. As Responsive Management prepares to contact hunters about this study, DEM hopes to see a high response rate that accurately represents the RI hunting community.
"Responsive Management, led by Executive Director Mark Duda, brings 30 years of survey and human dimensions research to the table," said DEM Deputy Director of Wildlife Jay Osenkowski. "Their work has spanned across all 50 states, every state fish and wildlife agency, and major conservation organizations including the American Sportfishing Association, Archery Trade Association, Ducks Unlimited, and Hunters' Leadership Forum. We are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with them and provide this opportunity to RI hunters."
The survey may take respondents 15 to 25 minutes to complete, depending on their previous hunting experiences. Responsive Management will analyze survey data and prepare a final report to provide DEM with a better understanding of hunter values, satisfaction, and quality of RI hunting experiences as well as hunter opinions and perceptions of important management issues. A summary of survey data will be available to the public in the fall on DEM's website.
Hunting has a long tradition in Rhode Island, supporting family customs, connecting people with nature, providing food resources, and attracting tourism to the state. Hunters, anglers, and sportsmen and women provide funding for wildlife conservation through the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, and through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses. These funds allow DEM to acquire and protect wildlife habitat, study local species, and educate the public on the importance of conservation and management in the state. Hunters and anglers purchased more than 80,000 licenses, permits, stamps, and tags in 2021 and contribute more than $235 million to Rhode Island's economy each year.
For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov or follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.