Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Haugen, M. T., L. A. Powell, M. P. Vrtiska, and K. L. Pope. 2015. The effects of harvest regulations on behaviors of duck hunters. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 20:15-29.


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Uncertainty exists as to how duck harvest regulations influence waterfowl hunter behavior. We used the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Parts Collection Survey to examine how harvest regulations affected behaviors of Central Flyway duck hunters. We stratified hunters into ranked groups based on seasonal harvest and identified three periods (1975–1984, 1988–1993, 2002–2011) that represented different harvest regulations (moderate, restrictive, and liberal, respectively; season length and daily bag limits smallest in restrictive seasons and largest in liberal seasons). We examined variability of seven measures of duck hunter behaviors across the periods: days harvesting ducks, daily harvest, hunter mobility, mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) selectivity, gender selectivity, daily female mallard harvest, and timing of harvest. Hunters reported harvesting ducks on more days, at a higher efficiency, and in slightly more counties during liberal seasons relative to restrictive and moderate seasons. We provide evidence to suggest that future regulation change will affect hunter behaviors.