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Hunting and Harvest Report
License Years
1997 to 2001
Harvest Surveys
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
October 22, 2002
Table of Contents
Introduction 1
Tables of Black Bear Hunting and Harvest Statistics 7
1996 to 2001 Overview of Black Bear Hunting and Harvest 9
Hunting Effort and Harvest Success 11
2001 Black Bear Hunting and Harvest 25
Hunting Effort and Harvest Success 27
Harvest by Time Period and Purpose of Hunt 39
2000 Black Bear Hunting and Harvest 43
Hunting Effort and Harvest Success 45
Harvest by Time Period and Purpose of Hunt 57
1999 Black Bear Hunting and Harvest 61
Hunting Effort and Harvest Success 63
Harvest by Time Period 75
1998 Black Bear Hunting and Harvest 81
Hunting Effort and Harvest Success 83
Harvest by Time Period 95
1997 Black Bear Hunting and Harvest 101
Hunting Effort and Harvest Success 103
Harvest by Time Period 115
Appendix A: 1996-2001 Hunting and Harvest Statistics
Data File Description 121
Enclosures
1997 to 2001 Black Bear Survey Questionnaires
1997 to 2001 Black Bear Hunting Regulations Booklets
Introduction
This report contains statistical estimates of Montana Black Bear hunting effort and harvest success, and the characteristics of bears harvested, for license years 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, and 1997. Statistics from the 1996 Black Bear Hunting and Harvest Report (11/4/1997) are also included in an across years overview table. The included statistics are based on an analysis and summary of statewide black bear hunting and harvest surveys conducted following the hunting seasons each license year (see Survey Questionnaire enclosures). Bear license sales, sampling effort, survey return and response rates, and statistical expansion factors are presented. Estimates of the number of hunters, hunter days, harvest, and harvest by sex of kill, time period, and purpose of hunt are presented. Confidence bounds (80%) are given for key estimates. Relevant ratios of statistics are provided as additional measures of hunting effort and harvest success. Results are presented by license year, location hunted, season of hunt, and residency status of hunter.
Two Black Bear table types are presented:
Hunting Effort and Harvest Success Table: This table includes estimates of the number of active bear hunters, hunter days, bears harvested, and sex of kill. In addition, lower and upper 80% confidence bounds on the estimates are presented, as well as ratios based on these estimates, including percent success.
Harvest by Time Period and Purpose of Hunt: This table includes the bear harvest estimate, plus the distribution of harvest among seven time periods, three spring season and four fall season. For license years 2000 and 2001, estimates are given for harvest by hunters specifically hunting for bear versus those taken while the hunter was primarily hunting other game species. Percent distributions are also given.
The tables are organized based on the following three variables within each license year:
Location of Hunt:
Statewide (STA): Statistics are computed without regard to the bear District hunted. Provides an overall picture of black bear hunting in Montana.
Regional (Reg 1Reg 7, Reg U): Statistics are computed based on MFWP Region of the bear District hunted. Hunting reported in an unknown District not resolvable to a Region is lumped into Reg U (unknown).
Hunting District (Bear Management Unit): Statistics are computed based on black bear Hunting District. Black bear Districts are also known as Bear Management Units. Hunting and harvest within a known Region, but an unknown District, is summarized under the District numbers 199, 299, 399, 499, and 599. Reported hunting and harvest that could not be linked to any known District or Region is summarized under District number 999.
Black bear Hunting Districts differ from those of deer and elk. Though this difference is made clear during phone interviews and in the packet mailed to non-residents, it continues to be a source of some reporting error. We attempt to resolve all improperly reported bear Districts to the proper District or the proper Region.
Season of Hunt:
Within a given license year, Montana allows black bear hunting during two seasons, Spring (generally mid-April to mid-June) and Fall (generally mid-September through November). A black bear hunter may take one bear during a given license year.
Both Seasons Combined (All): Statistics are computed without regard to season of hunt.
By Season (Spring and/or Fall): Statistics are computed based on reported season of hunting effort and time period of harvest.
Residency of Black Bear License Holder:
All: Statistics are computed without regard to residency status of the sportsperson.
Residency (R or N): Statistics are computed based on residency status of sportsperson as indicated by the type of conservation license held, Montana resident or non-resident.
License Type: Sportspersons purchase black bear licenses of two basic types. Residents may purchase a stand alone Bear Hunting license (Type 65=RBear), or a Sportsperson with Bear license (Type 11=RSpo). Non-residents may purchase only a stand alone Bear Hunting license (Type 46=NBear). At the Statewide and Regional levels of analysis, in addition to statistics by residency status, statistics are also presented based on the specific type of bear license held. This provides a comparison of hunting effort and harvest success for those purchasing a stand alone bear license versus a combination Sportsperson license.
Expansion Factors and Estimation of Black Bear Statistics
Within each license year, all presented statistics are estimates based on the underlying black bear survey response set for a particular combination of the various levels of Location hunted, Season hunted, and Residency of hunter. Basic black bear expansion factors are derived for each residency specific license type (RSpo, RBear, NBear) based on sales of the license type divided by the number of holders of the license type returning bear survey responses. Additional expansion factors are then computed at grouped levels of Residency, based on the same relationship between sales to holders and responses returned from holders. Residency based black bear expansion factors for license years 2001 back to 1997 are presented in Table 1. Response summary counts of active hunters, hunter days by District, and reported harvest by District, sex, and time period, are multiplied by the corresponding residency based expansion factor to obtain the hunting or harvest estimates.
A low expansion factor (close to 1) indicates a high response rate and results in relatively good statistical precision in the hunting or harvest estimate. Good statistical precision is reflected in relatively narrow 80% confidence bounds on the estimate. An expansion factor significantly higher than 1 indicates a low response rate, relatively poor statistical precision, and relatively wide 80% confidence bounds on the estimate. A second factor influencing precision of a hunting or harvest estimate is the raw number of bear survey responses reporting hunting activity or harvest, for a given combination of Location, Season, and Residency. A higher total count of responding active hunters, or reported kill, will result in better statistical precision of the hunting or harvest estimate than will lower counts. The tables of statistics illustrate this relationship. For example, estimates at the Statewide level of analysis generally show higher precision than those at the Regional level, which generally show higher precision than those at the District level of analysis. Always refer to the supplied confidence interval when judging the value of a point estimate.
Estimates of hunting and harvest at grouped data levels higher than the District Location level, the Spring/Fall Season level, and the RSpo, Rbear, or NBear Residency level of analysis, are not sums of these underlying base level estimates. They are separate estimates that apply when one or more levels of data splitting is disregarded. Estimates for resident or non-resident hunters disregard differences in underlying response rates, and levels of effort and success, due to the specific type of license held. Estimates at the combined residency level (Res=ALL) disregard differences due to Residency of hunter. Estimates at the combined season level (Season=ALL) disregard differences due to Season of hunt. Estimates at the Regional and Statewide location levels disregard differences within underlying Districts. Due to differing underlying response rates and levels of effort and success, estimates of hunting or harvest at a higher level of data lumping will not necessarily equal the sum of the underlying estimates. In addition, since an individual hunter may hunt in multiple locations, and during both seasons, the hunter estimate will not sum across levels of Season or Location.
Overall Sampling Effort and Results
Table 1 presents overall statewide counts of black bear license holders, holders sampled, returned responses, and respondents reporting active hunting, with corresponding rates, expansions factors, and resulting statewide estimates of numbers of bear hunters. Black bear license holders in the Sportsperson/License Database as of late January following the bear season form the population available for sampling each license year. The overall resident sample rate for Montana resident license holders was maintained around 68% from 1997 through 2000, then was reduced to 63% in 2001. The non-resident sample rate varied from 77% down to 67%. Montana residents were surveyed primarily by phone, while non-residents were surveyed by mail. Valid responses were returned at rates around 67% for resident phone surveys, while corresponding rates for non-resident mail surveys generally fluctuated in the mid-40 percent range. Resulting overall response rates relative to total sales varied around 45% for residents and the low 30% range for non-residents.
Hunting rate is the percent of responding bear sportspersons reporting effort spent hunting for bear. It is an estimate of the percent of bear license holders actually devoting effort to hunting bear. The hunting rate for resident holders of the stand alone bear license (RBear) is always significantly higher (the upper 50% range) than that for resident holders of the Sportsperson with Bear (RSpo) license (the upper 30% range). Many of those buying the Type 11 Sportsperson license apparently have little intention of hunting black bear. Non-resident holders of a bear license report active hunting at significantly higher rates (88% to 95%) than resident holders.
The estimate of active bear hunters was derived by multiplying the expansion factor times the tally of respondents reporting bear hunting. Over the 5 year period, overall hunter numbers fluctuated between about 9,200 and 10,700. Non-residents comprised about 9% of total black bear license holders, but 18% of active bear hunters.
Definitions of Black Bear Hunting and Harvest Statistics
Statistics Presented in the Hunting Effort and Harvest Success Tables:
Hunters: Point estimate of number of active black bear hunters.
Hunters Low Bnd: Lower bound of 80% confidence interval on hunters.
Hunters Up Bnd: Upper bound of 80% confidence interval on hunters.
Hunter Days: Point estimate of number of days or partial days spent hunting for bears.
HDays Low Bnd: Lower bound of 80% confidence interval on hunter days.
HDays Up Bnd: Upper bound of 80% confidence interval on hunter days.
Days/Hunter: Hunter days divided by the number of hunters. An estimate of the number of days the average bear hunter spent bear hunting. Bear hunting effort was recorded by Season and District.
Harvest: Point estimate of number of bears harvested. Because one kill is allowed per licensed hunter, the harvest estimate is also the estimate of the number of successful hunters.
Harvest Low Bnd: Lower bound of 80% confidence interval on harvest.
Harvest Up Bnd: Upper bound of 80% confidence interval on harvest.
Percent Success: Number of successful hunters (harvest) divided by number of hunters. Percent of active bear hunters successful in harvesting a bear.
Days To Kill: Hunter days divided by harvest. An estimate of the number of days afield the average bear hunter would require to harvest a bear.
Harvest Unkn: Point estimate of number of bears harvested where sex was unknown.
Harvest Female: Point estimate of number of female bears harvested.
Harvest Male: Point estimate of number of male bears harvested.
Pcnt Fem (% Female): An estimate of the percent of bear harvest which was female.
Pcnt Male (% Male): An estimate of the percent of bear harvest which was male.
Statistics Presented in the Harvest by Time Period and Purpose of Hunt Tables:
Total Harvest: Point estimate of number of bears harvested.
Spring April: Estimate of spring bear harvest occurring during April (Time Period 1).
Spring May: Estimate of spring bear harvest occurring during May (Time Period 2).
Spring June: Estimate of spring bear harvest occurring during June (Time Period 3).
Fall Sept: Estimate of fall bear harvest occurring during September (Time Period 4).
Fall Oct Bfr: Estimate of fall bear harvest occurring in October before the start of the general big game hunting season (Time Period 5).
Fall Oct Aft: Estimate of fall bear harvest occurring during the first week of the general big game hunting season (Time Period 6).
Fall Nov : Estimate of fall bear harvest occurring during November after the first week of the general gig game hunting season (Time Period 7).
Pcnt TP 1: Percent of total harvest occurring during the first time period.
Pcnt TP 2: Percent of total harvest occurring during the second time period.
Pcnt TP 3: Percent of total harvest occurring during the third time period.
Pcnt TP 4: Percent of total harvest occurring during the fourth time period.
Pcnt TP 5: Percent of total harvest occurring during the fifth time period.
Pcnt TP 6: Percent of total harvest occurring during the sixth time period.
Pcnt TP 7: Percent of total harvest occurring during the seventh time period.
Non-Bear Hunt: Estimate of bear harvest taken during hunts where the primary purpose of the hunt was NOT to take a black bear. Only presented for license years 2000 and 2001.
Bear Hunt: Estimate of bear harvest taken during hunts where the primary purpose of the hunt was to take a black bear. Only presented for license years 2000 and 2001.
% Bear Hunt: Percent of total harvest taken during hunts where the primary purpose of the hunt was to take a black bear. Only presented for license years 2000 and 2001.
Notes Applying to Black Bear Hunting and Harvest Tables
Undefined or missing values are presented in the report tables as 0.0.or 0. In some cases there is no reported bear hunting success at a particular combination of Location, Season, and Residency, thus ratios and percents based on harvest are undefined.
Out-of-range values are indicated in the tables with #####. These usually occur when the numerator of a ratio, relative to the denominator, is so large that the ratio is essentially meaningless.
Regarding the Harvest by Time Period tables. If the harvest estimate was zero for a particular combination of Location, Season, and Residency, then that row was not output to these tables.
Page numbers in the lower right hand corner of each page indicate the consecutive page number in the report. Page numbers in the upper right of each table title header indicate a page within a given table. Each table will have numbered consecutive pages.
The date printed in the table title headers indicates the date the presented estimates of hunting and harvest were generated for a given license year, or were assembled into the across years data table. This provides a version stamp in the event the statistics are regenerated at a later date using altered source data or modified analysis techniques.
Appendix A: The Black Bear Hunting and Harvest Statistics Data File Description
Black bear license sales figures, expansion factors used in analysis, statistical estimates of bear hunting and harvest, and confidence bounds on the estimates, for all computed combinations and levels of Location, Season, and Residency, for License Years 1996 through 2001, are stored in the Harvest Surveys Hunting and Harvest Statistics Database. A copy of the across year black bear hunting and harvest statistics data table is available as a comma separated value text file. This file is described in Appendix A.
Table 1: Montana Black Bear License Sales, Sampled Holders, Returned Responses, and Respondents Actively Hunting.
Sample, Return, Response, and Hunting Rates. Expansion Factor and Estimated Hunters. License Years 1997 to 2001.
PAGE 5
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Research - Harvest Surveys 1997-2001 Black Bear Hunting & Harvest Report Oct. 22, 2002
PAGE 1
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Research - Harvest Surveys 1997-2001 Black Bear Hunting & Harvest Report Oct. 22, 2002
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