12/01/2012 - Many big game seasons are still open in much of Wyoming and others are winding down. The regular hunting seasons are accompanied by the harvest survey "season" for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The department contracts with a company named Tetra Tech to conduct the large surveys for antelope, deer, and elk. Over the past week approximately 107,000 postcards were mailed to resident and nonresident hunters requesting that they complete their harvest survey online.
Hunters with Internet access can use the password provided on the green postcard to complete the survey online at wyhunter.org. Hunters who do not respond via Internet will be mailed a hard-copy survey. The mailing schedule is staggered to facilitate processing.
Gail Sheridan, harvest survey coordinator for Game and Fish said the online survey is the most efficient way for a hunter with internet access to respond. "The Internet survey is more efficient, it saves WGFD about $3 per response in postage and processing over the mail in survey and it ensures greater accuracy," Sheridan said.
Sheridan emphasized that it is important for all hunters to respond to the survey even if they didn't harvest an animal. It is also important for hunters who were checked in the field or at a check station to respond. "The survey only takes 5-10 minutes to complete," Sheridan said. "Hunters deserve a big 'thank you' for completing these surveys in a timely manner."
Not all hunters are surveyed, but depending on the species and hunt area, at least 60 percent of hunters will receive survey cards. "Survey recipients are randomly selected," Sheridan said. "Even though hunters may be members of a hunting party, there is no guarantee all members of the party will receive a survey." Sheridan said that if not enough hunters respond to the initial mailing, follow-up phone calls will be made and surveys will be sent until statistically valid estimates of hunter effort and harvest are made.
The information provided is integral to management of the various herd units. Sheridan said that some seasons are still open, but emphasized that if hunters are done hunting they can complete their survey right away. "For hunters who still have some hunting to do, we would appreciate the survey as soon as they finish hunting," Sheridan said.