Recreational hunting is crucial for controlling white-tailed deer populations. Public land is increasingly important as access to private lands declines. However, differences between public and private land hunters remain unknown. Our study of Pennsylvania hunters revealed differences between private and public land hunters that may pose problems for management. Hunters who only hunted public land had lower harvest rates, especially of antlerless deer, spent less time hunting, were less committed to hunting, were more likely to hunt alone, less likely to belong to a hunting camp, and more likely to live in urban areas. They were less likely to believe that high deer populations could damage forest ecosystems, and less willing to harvest antlerless deer. The implications of these findings, in the context of already-declining hunter capacity to keep deer populations in check, and concomitant declining access to private land, are discussed. Copyright ?? Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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Deer hunting on Pennsylvania's public and private lands: A two-tiered system of hunters?