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Tuesday, January 26 • 10:00am - 10:20am
Trust Me, You Don’t Want To Use Bait: Examining Linkages Between Gaining Hunter Compliance And Building Trust In Agencies

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AUTHORS: Brent A. Rudolph*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Shawn J. Riley, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: North American wildlife is treated as a public trust resource (PTR), managed for the benefit of all people by government. Many historically overexploited wildlife species were restored via application of restrictive hunting regulations and enforced compliance, but recovery goals were shared by hunters and managers. Present-day societal needs include reducing abundant game populations and zoonotic diseases. Hunters often oppose steps to reach these objectives, creating tension between managing PTRs and gaining trust of hunters upon whose participation and support wildlife management depends. Trust can be an important commodity for governments to elicit compliance rather than depending solely on enforcement. Influencing opinions of procedural justice (perceptions of appropriate exercise of power) may provide a practical means for gaining trust. Our objectives were to: 1) assess compliance with a baiting ban adopted to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Michigan white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, 2) assess trust in the state wildlife agency, and 3) determine how enforcement, personal gains, norms, and factors contributing to trust affected compliance. We determined the minimum baiting violation rate was 25% in the bTB area, and 30% of respondents indicated they trusted the agency to establish appropriate deer hunting rules. Logit modeling of hunter survey data (n= 3,222; 51% response rate) identified diverse influences (enforcement, personal gains, social norms, and procedural justice) on compliance. Trust was influenced by procedural justice, hunter agreement with agency goals, and judgements of performance. We provide a framework for measuring factors that may influence stakeholder trust and ultimately hunter compliance and effectiveness of regulations. We conclude trust is not easily built, but may work in concert with applying traditional enforcement. This approach requires close coordination between trustees (elected and appointed officials who hold authority for enacting regulations) and trust managers (agency personnel who provide technical expertise to trustees and bear responsibility for enforcement).

Tuesday January 26, 2016 10:00am - 10:20am EST