The Hunter Access survey was designed to give hunters an avenue to provide feedback specifically on the means and methods they use to gain access to the areas they hunt. The questions were unbiased and non-leading to ensure every participant had the opportunity to answer questions and make comments specific to their hunting access. There was a unique incentive used to encourage recipients to complete and submit the survey in a timely manner.
The AHLA identified four separate non-profit organizations serving the hunting community. The four groups were the Catch-a-Dream Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, the American Hunting Lease Foundation and the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation. Each hunter that received the survey was asked to choose which organization to receive a $1 donation for completing the survey on their behalf.
As a result, the American Hunting Lease Association will make donations in the following amounts. (The donation question was skipped by 350 participants. Totals were rounded up.)
Catch-A-Dream | $1,200
Provides dream hunts for children with life-threatening illnesses
Ducks Unlimited | $275
Supporting waterfowl habitat conservation
American Hunting Lease Foundation | $250
Hunting access for non-profit groups
Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation | $200
Promotes tree stand safety
Objectives were identified and a list of metrics to be learned was created. Survey questions were then written, evaluated, rewritten and either included in the final survey or deleted for one or more reasons. Using existing contact lists from non-lease related industry partners, social media and AHLA’s own contacts the survey was sent to approximately 90,000 hunters. The AHLA list of contacts includes hunters outside the leasing industry that have no membership or interest in the AHLA or leasing hunting access.
The American Hunting Lease Association has built its reputation in the industry on firsthand knowledge of hunting practices, placing the highest priority on responsible land stewardship and unwavering history of integrity. The drive for creating this survey was to obtain a better understanding of hunter access in the U.S., which in turn paints a much clearer picture of the entire industry. Any attempt to marginalize or manipulate the results would be detrimental to the hunting industry, hunters, landowners and the AHLA.
The survey was completed and submitted by 2201 unique hunters that have stated experience on hunting both public and private ground with and without leased access. Each participant was asked a series of identifying questions to provide a baseline of the demographic representation. In addition, hunters were asked to describe their own reasons for hunting as well as what US region they hunt, the type of game they pursue and how they would best describe their passion for hunting.
Giving every hunter an opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences was of the utmost importance. To that end, each participant was given the choice between five distinct methods of hunter access.
- Public land
- Private land with no landowner compensation (free access with permission)
- Private land with landowner compensation. (hunting lease)
- Landowner (owns the land he/she hunts)
- Guided with a professional guide or outfitter
Once a respondent chose the method for hunting access they used most, they were served a set of questions pertaining to that method specifically. By separating hunters into the access method of their own choosing, the likelihood of insincere answers is greatly reduced. Likewise, the data collected and presented here can be trusted and accepted as legitimate. At the completion of the survey, every participant was given the opportunity to leave text comments on the topic or topics of their choice. n an effort to introduce, distribute and compile the results from the survey in a timely manner, a timeline of 6 weeks from introduction to completion was strictly adhered to.