HELENA - Following last year's hunting season Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) conducted their first mule deer hunter survey in 12 years.
The goal was to try and judge the hunting public’s feelings about the western wildlife icon, and you might want to sit down for this — people REALLY like hunting them.
The research summary released by FWP shows that the mail-back surveys were sent out to 5,000 randomly selected resident deer license holders in the state, which saw a 41% response.
Of those respondents, bout 62% said mule deer hunting was “one of my most important” or “my most important” activities in Montana.
The survey also shows 85% of hunters think overall opportunities to hunt mulies are better than average.
Sixty percent of the respondents even rated the opportunity to hunt mature bucks as being better than average — up about 50% from the last time the survey was held in 2011.
But the interest in hunting antlerless mules went down from 51% of hunters being “interested” or “very interested” in the last survey to 38% this time around.
About two-thirds of hunters responded that they “support” or “strongly support” hunting mule deer bucks during the RUT.
Overall, on a scale of 1-5, 75% of those answering the survey rated mulie management in the Treasure State as “satisfactory” a rating of 3 or higher. Twenty-five percent felt dissatisfaction.
That was a new question this year.