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Monday, January 25 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Sharing and Receiving Wild Harvested Venison In Michigan: Implications For Relevancy of Hunters and Hunting

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AUTHORS: Amber D. Goguen, Michigan State University; Shawn J. Riley*, Michigan State University; Brent A. Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; John F. Organ, USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units

ABSTRACT: An often-overlooked aspect of hunting-based wildlife management systems is wild harvested meat produced, and provisional and cultural ecosystem services generated by the sharing and consumption of this valuable natural resource. We assessed the extent of venison provided by hunters and received by Michiganders; identified pathways of venison movement; and, characterized factors associated with venison consumption in Michigan. We assessed characteristics of hunters as providers of venison from a mail-back questionnaire to a stratified random sample (n=19,981) of 2013 Michigan deer license holders. We assessed venison consumption statewide through voluntary closed-ended telephone interviews with a random sample (n=997) of Michigan residents. We estimate 26-33 million pounds of wild harvested venison were procured during the 2013 Michigan deer hunting season. In the absence of established markets, > 85% of hunter-respondents who harvested a deer in 2013 shared venison. Hunters who reported sharing provided venison to an average of 5.6 people, mostly to people with whom they shared a close personal connection. Hunter characteristics were not predictive of sharing behaviors; the only variable correlated with sharing was whether they harvested a deer. Approximately 72% of Michigan resident-respondents reported eating venison at least once in their lifetime, and nearly 50% reported consuming venison at least once in the past 12 months. Level of hunting experience, level of urbanization of residence, and race were predictors of venison consumption. Sharing by hunters magnifies the potential number of people coupled to natural systems through the consumption of wild harvested meat. Nonetheless, the closed nature of hunters’ sharing networks creates potential limits to the number and types of beneficiaries within this system. We discuss implications for wild harvested meat as a coupler between humans and nature, and as a mechanism to maintain relevancy of hunting.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Governors

Attendees (19)