P.D. Moloney and J.D. Turnbull
A telephone survey of Victorian hunters was conducted during the 2013 hunting seasons for deer, duck and quail to determine the total harvest for each game type. Game licence holders for each game type (deer, duck and quail) were randomly sampled and interviewed by telephone at intervals during the respective game seasons. For all surveys, respondents were asked whether they had hunted or not during the period for which the survey applied and, if applicable, the number and species of animals harvested. Additional information was obtained on hunting methods and locations.
Each holder of a Game Licence for deer hunted on approximately 6.4 days from July 2012 to June 2013, with an average season harvest of 2.1 deer per Game Licence holder. Based on the total number of holders of a deer Game Licence, this corresponds to an estimated 50,112 deer harvested during the 2013 deer-hunting season in Victoria (95% confidence interval (CI) = 40,279–62,346). The most commonly harvested species was Sambar Deer (with an estimated total harvest of 42,847), followed by Fallow Deer (6,138).
Each holder of a Game Licence for ducks hunted on approximately 3.7 days during the 2013 duck-hunting season, with an average season harvest of 17.2 ducks per Game Licence holder. Based on the total number of Game Licence holders, this equates to an estimated 422,294 ducks harvested during the 2013 duck-hunting season in Victoria (95% CI = 369,822–482,212). The most commonly harvested species was Grey Teal (which comprised 32% of the total harvest), followed by Australian Wood Duck (25%), Pacific Black Duck (22%), Chestnut Teal (9%), Pink-eared Duck (7%), Hardhead (2%), Australasian Shoveler (2%) and Australian Shelduck (<1%).
Each holder of a Game Licence for quail hunted on approximately 0.8 days during the 2013 quail-hunting season, with an average season harvest of 6.7 quail per Game Licence holder. Based on the total number of Game Licence holders, this equates to an estimated 184,123 quail harvested during the 2013 quail-hunting season in Victoria (95% CI = 139,007–243,882).
It is estimated that the total number of hunter days during the survey was 264,616 (95% CI = 236,480 – 296,099).
The approach used here explicitly accounts for the possibility that not every holder of a Game Licence will hunt during every survey period. The total number of Game Licence holders who hunted is estimated for each survey period and combined with the harvest per hunter to derive the total harvest for each survey period.
The methodology of performing telephone surveys throughout the season is likely to minimise memory bias and non-response bias compared to the end of year postal survey. However, sources of bias will remain due to over-and under-reporting, and the estimates of total harvest must be interpreted with care.