Some major changes have been made in the way that game harvest is estimated for deer, elk, bear, and small game animals. The techniques used for bobcat, river otter, and furbearers have not changed. Mountain goat, moose, and bighorn sheep reports have changed only in the way the reports are submitted. A minor change was made to the way cougar harvest is calculated.
Mandatory Reports for Deer, Elk, Bear, and Turkey
In 2001, those hunters obtaining transport tags for deer, elk, bear, and turkey were required to submit a hunter report for each transport tag using either a toll-free telephone number or a report form on the Internet. The consequences of not doing this was a denial of the ability to purchase a hunting license for the species with an outstanding hunter report the following license year. An incentive permit drawing was conducted for those hunters submitting all of their hunter reports on or before January 10, 2002 or within ten days if an animal was taken. The deadline for the submission of hunter reports was January 31, 2002. Hunter reports are still being accepted after the deadline, since each hunter is required to report before a new hunting license can be purchased for the 2002 license year. 2001 hunter reports will be accepted until the 2002 hunting licenses are no longer for sale (April 1, 2003). Because around 25 percent of the hunter reports were not made on time, a follow-up hunter survey was conducted by telephone in order to calculate the harvest of those who did not report. This estimate was added to the tabulated mandatory reports to determine the 2001 harvest and hunter participation figures presented in this report. General season and special permit hunting activity are presented in separate tables. Total harvest for any game management unit can be calculated by adding the two together.
Small Game Hunter Questionnaire
The 2001 Small Game Questionnaire was sent to hunters licensed to hunt small game animals. Some of the questionnaires went out to hunters that only purchased a big game hunting license package. That is because these hunters have the ability to hunt forest grouse. Hunters were also given the opportunity to respond to the questionnaire using a form on the Internet. The answers on the questionnaire formed the basis upon which harvest estimates were made for upland birds, forest grouse, waterfowl, and hunted fur-bearers. Hunters were asked if they actually hunted, how many days they spent hunting, and where it was done. They were also asked to record if they bagged anything. If they did, they were asked what it was, where it was taken, and how many they got.
The 2001 Small Game Hunter sample was drawn from the licensed hunter files based upon responses to questions that were asked when purchasing 2001 hunting licenses. Hunters were asked if they hunted certain animals during the previous hunting season and, if they did, approximately how many were bagged. This is called a stratified sampling technique and is modeled after that used by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service while conducting their annual migratory bird harvest survey.
Special Permit Hunting Activity
In addition to the deer and elk general hunting seasons, there are special permit hunts which make it possible to hunt antlerless deer or elk, in special areas, or during special times. Mountain goat, bighorn sheep, and moose hunting are available only by special permit. The same is true for spring black bear and fall turkey. All hunters, both successful and unsuccessful, were required to submit a mandatory hunter report by January 31, 2002. Special permit hunting activity was inferred from the mandatory reports based on the special permit hunt season dates, hunt boundary, and special restrictions. No separate report was required or necessary. Harvest for these species was tabulated and based solely upon the reports returned by the hunters. Harvest was not estimated to include hunters who did not submit a report.
Trapper Report of Catch
All trappers of fur-bearing animals are required to complete and return a trapper report of catch. Harvest is calculated directly from the reports and not expanded to include trappers that did not return a completed report.
CITES Pelt Sealing Reports
Bobcat and river otter pelts must be sealed within ten days of the close of the trapping or hunting season. This is done to gather harvest information and to comply with the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The harvest figures are drawn directly from the pelt sealing records.
Cougar Pelt Sealing Records
Each successful cougar hunter is required to have his/her cougar inspected by an agent of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, have it's pelt sealed, and submit a cougar tooth sample. Hunters with cougar transport tags are not required to report cougar hunting activity if a cougar was not taken. Other cougar are taken due to livestock depredation or other dangerous situations and reported internally. In the 2000 hunting season, cougar public safety removals were begun. All of these records are used to compile cougar harvest.