NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Remember the TV commercials showing unsuspecting residents opening their doors to discover they'd won a million Washingtons in the Publisher's Clearinghouse giveaway?
Well, if you're a duck hunter, something similar might happen to you.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Waterfowl Section, in partnership with LSU's School of Renewable Natural Resources, has begun a survey of resident waterfowl hunters that asks for input on waterfowl hunting activity, satisfaction with new zones and zone boundaries, potential season dates for future waterfowl hunting seasons and attitudes on particular policies.
"We are mailing surveys to 5,000 randomly selected waterfowl hunters - 2,500 printed surveys with follow-ups to be completed and mailed back, and 2,500 postcards with Internet pass codes to be completed online," said LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds. The same survey is also available via LDWF's website home page at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, and all interested waterfowl hunters can provide input.
LDWF is using multiple survey distribution methods in an effort to engage as many Louisiana waterfowl hunters as possible and increase participation in the regulatory process.
"Response rates are always a concern, especially when they fall as low as the 17 percent we received last year from the random mail-out survey," Reynolds said.
The department is encouraging all waterfowl hunters, especially those who receive a survey in the mail, to participate, and this year LDWF is providing an incentive. All waterfowl hunters who participate in the survey will be entered in a drawing for one of three prizes: a hunt for two on opening day of the 2013 September teal season at White Lake Wetland Conservation Area; a Remington 887 Nitro-Mag 12-gauge shotgun or a Cabela's Brush Buster GORE-TEX 4-in-1 Parka or Wading jacket.
Last season, LDWF changed the number of waterfowl hunting zones for the first time in 36 years, created new zone boundaries for the first time in 11 years, and experienced controversy in setting season dates in some of the zones. This and future surveys are required by the USFWS to evaluate the satisfaction with changes in the zones, and offer an opportunity for all waterfowl hunters to provide input into future decisions, LDWF said.