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Special Big Game
Hunting and Harvest Report
March 23, 2004
License Year 2003
Harvest Surveys
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Table of Contents
Introduction 1
Moose Tables 7
Hunting Effort 9
Harvest Success 23
Harvest by Time Period 41
Bighorn Sheep Tables 55
Hunting Effort 57
Harvest Success 65
Harvest by Time Period 75
Mountain Goat Tables 83
Hunting Effort 85
Harvest Success 95
Harvest by Time Period 107
Appendix A: Sampling Statistics Tables 117
Moose 119
Bighorn Sheep 133
Mountain Goat 141
Appendix B: Special Big Game Hunting and Harvest
Statistics Data File Description 151
Enclosures
2003 SBG Hunting and Harvest Survey Questionnaire
2003 Montana Hunting Regulations Moose, Sheep, Goat
Introduction
This report contains statistical estimates of Moose, Bighorn Sheep, and Mountain Goat hunting effort and harvest success, plus characteristics of special big game harvested, in Montana during the License Year 2003 (LY2003) hunting season. It is based on an analysis and summary of the LY2003 statewide Special Big Game Hunting and Harvest Survey conducted in late November and December following the hunting season. (See Survey Questionnaire enclosure.) An attempt was made to contact all special big game license holders, first by phone interview, then if unsuccessful by return mail. All completed responses received by the date of analysis (March 23, 2004) were summarized and expanded to statistical estimates (with confidence intervals) based on expansion factors computed from license sales divided by returned responses, for each combination of species, location, residency, and license type. Estimates of hunting and harvest statistics are presented for each special big game Species, by Location hunted (Statewide, Regional, and by Hunting District), Residency of hunter (Residents, Non-residents, and Both combined), and License Type (Special License and All Licenses combined).
Three Special Big Game hunting and harvest table types are presented for each of the 3 species:
Hunting Statistics Table: This table includes the number of special licenses issued and the expansion factor applied to the response data to obtain all the estimates for that combination of species, location, residency, and license type. Estimates are given for the number of hunters and hunter days, lower and upper 80% confidence bounds on these estimates, and relevant ratios based on these statistics.
Harvest Statistics Table: This table repeats the number of special licenses issued and the estimate of number of hunters. Estimates are given for total harvest, lower and upper 80% confidence bounds on harvest, harvest by sex-age class, percent harvest by sex-age class, and relevant ratios based on these statistics.
Time Period of Kill Statistics Table: This table repeats the estimate of total harvest, then provides the distribution of harvest among six time periods. Percent of total harvest within each time period is also presented.
In addition, sampling effort and survey response information for each species is presented in:
Sampling Statistics Tables: These tables include the number of licenses issued, the number of license holders sampled, the number of holders responding to the survey, and rates and ratios based on these numbers, including the expansion factor, for Moose, Bighorn Sheep, and Mountain Goat.
The tables are organized based on the following four variables:
Species: All hunting and harvest statistics were computed separately for each of the three species: Moose, Bighorn Sheep, and Mountain Goat.
Location of Hunt:
Statewide (State): Statistics are computed without regard to the Special Big Game District hunted. Provides an overall picture of hunting in Montana for the particular species.
Regional (Reg 1Reg 7): Statistics are computed based on MFWP Region of the District hunted.
Hunting District: Statistics are computed based on the Special Big Game Hunting District in which the license is valid.
Special Big Game Hunting Districts differ for Moose, Sheep, and Goats (2003 Montana Hunting Regulations - Moose, Sheep, Goat). Hunters report hunting effort and harvest success for the species and special license they hold. Each license is valid in a single District.
Residency of Special Big Game License Holder:
All: Statistics are computed without regard to residency of the license holder.
Residency (R/N): Statistics are computed based on residency status of license holder as indicated by the Automated Licensing System database. Montana resident is abbreviated R, non-resident N.
Special License Held by Sportsperson:
All: Statistics are computed without regard to which special license the sportsperson held.
License/Permit Type (Lic Type or Lpt): Special Big Game hunting is by special license, and each survey response is linked to a particular license. Within a species, every special license is identified by a unique 5 digit code. These codes correspond to the license code descriptions presented in the Regulations.
Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 1: License Year 2003 Statewide Special Big Game Sampling and Survey Results
Species
& ResLicenses
IssuedHolders
SampledResponses
ReturnedSample
RateReturn
RateResponse
RateExpansion
FactorEstimated
HuntersHunting
RateEstimated
HarvestPercent
SuccessMoose 660 660 632 10095.8 95.81.044 650 98.4 525 80.9 R 634 634 607 10095.7 95.71.044 625 98.5 508 81.3 N 26 26 25 10096.2 96.21.040 25 96.0 18 70.8Sheep 325 325 300 10092.3 92.31.083 263 81.0 159 60.5 R 294 294 269 10091.5 91.51.093 237 80.7 146 61.8 N 31 31 31 100100 1001.000 26 83.9 13 50.0Goat 319 319 302 10094.7 94.71.056 304 95.4 229 75.3 R 298 298 283 10095.0 95.01.053 283 95.1 211 74.3 N 21 21 19 10090.5 90.51.105 21100.0 21 89.5
Overall Sampling and Survey Results
Table 1 presents overall statewide counts of number of licenses issued, license holders sampled and surveyed by phone or mail, sportspersons who returned valid responses, and various rates derived from these counts, expressed as percents, for each Special Big Game species, and by residency of the sportsperson. Sample rate is the percent of license holders surveyed for hunting and harvest information. One hundred percent of Special Big Game holders are sampled. Return rate is the percent of those sampled who returned valid survey information. Response rate is the bottom line percent of license holders who returned valid responses. Because the Sample Rate is 100 percent, Return Rate equals Response Rate for Special Big Game.
Overall expansion factors (license holders divided by valid responses) are also presented. Expanded statistics were computed at all levels and combinations of Species, Location, Residency, and License Type by multiplying the expansion factor by the corresponding non-expanded statistics. Estimated Hunters is computed by multiplying the expansion factor by the number of responses indicating active hunting. Hunting Rate is the estimated percent of license holders actively hunting. Estimated Harvest is computed by multiplying the expansion factor by the number of responses indicating a kill. Percent Success is the estimated percent of active hunters successfully harvesting a moose, sheep, or goat.
Estimated statistics and ratios are formatted in the printed tables to a meaningful level of precision. However, all calculations deriving these estimates and ratios were performed using high precision floating point real numbers. Any subsequent calculations based on the formatted numbers presented in the printed tables will be subject to round-off error.
In some cases, at the most detailed summary level by Species, Location, Residency, and License Type, no response data were returned. In these cases, the expansion factor was undefined (license holders divided by zero responses). Estimates of hunting and harvest statistics based on an undefined expansion factor are also undefined. In other cases, response data were returned, but no sportspersons reported active hunting, or kills. This resulted in undefined ratios. Undefined values were flagged as 9.9 in the underlying hunting and harvest data table. In the printed tables of this report, undefined values are formatted to appear as 0 or 0.0.
Appendix A presents sampling statistics tables for all the levels and combinations of Species, Location, Residency, and License Type presented in the hunting and harvest statistics tables.
Expansion Factors and Statistical Estimation
All Special Big Game hunting and harvest statistics presented are estimates based on the underlying response set for a particular combination of the various levels of species, location, hunter residency, and license/permit type (Lpt). Summarized harvest results from survey responses are expanded to estimated statistics based on the ratio: number of licenses issued divided by number of valid responses received from license holders. Separate expansion factors were computed at all levels and groupings of species, location, hunter residency, and license/permit type. These expansion factors are presented in the Hunting Statistics and the Sampling Statistics tables.
A low expansion factor (close to 1) indicates a high overall response rate, and 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 in the estimate, and relatively wide 80% confidence bounds on the estimate.
A second factor affecting precision of a hunting or harvest estimate is the raw number of survey responses reporting hunting activity, or harvest, for a given combination of Species, Location, Residency, and Lpt. The survey response counts are multiplied by the expansion factor to obtain the hunting or harvest estimate. A higher total count of responding active hunters, or reported kill, will result in better statistical precision of the hunting and harvest estimates than will lower counts. The 80% confidence intervals on the hunter and harvest estimates are presented as an index of the relative precision of the estimates.
Special Big Game statistics presented at the higher groupings of Location, Residency, and Lpt are themselves estimates, not sums of the underlying estimates. They are based on expansion factors computed from ratios of tags issued to responses returned, given the particular grouping of location, residency, and license type. This explains why a harvest estimate for a given location, for a given residency, over all license types, may differ from the sum of the underlying license type estimates. The overall expansion factor used is the sum of the included sales divided by the sum of the included responses. The more heterogeneous the underlying populations, the more the overall estimates will vary from the sum of the underlying estimates. These Lpt=ALL estimates are made for the given location and residency without regard to Lpt.
Hunting and harvest statistics at the combined residency level are estimates when residency is disregarded. They are not simple sums of the resident and non-resident estimates. Resident and non-resident harvest estimates will not necessarily sum to the combined residency estimate (Res=ALL). Similarly, separate estimates are computed at all three levels of location (District, Regional, and Statewide). Regional estimates are made without regard to reported District of activity within the Region. Statewide estimates are derived without regard to any reported District of activity.
Relative statistical precision will be better for estimates at levels and groupings of location, residency, and Lpt, where the response rate is relatively higher, and the total reported number hunting or number harvested is relatively higher. Total reported hunters and kill accumulate as the three grouping variables are lumped into higher levels. Therefore relative precision of the estimates improves. For example, precision in Statewide estimates will generally be better than precision in Regional estimates, which will generally be significantly better than precision in District level estimates. In general, the worst relative precision in the estimates occur at the finest level of response data splitting: for a particular hunting district, a particular residency, and a particular individual Lpt. This is especially true for an Lpt issued to few hunters.
One can sum the estimates made at the finest level of data splitting and compare the results to those presented at the Lpt=All or Res=All levels. (The confidence intervals on the estimates should be summed as well to get a ball park idea of the variability in the sum of estimates.) Summing the estimates has the disadvantage of accumulating errors in the sums of estimates. At the finest level of analysis these errors can be relatively large, resulting in a large accumulation of errors in the sum of estimates. The magnitude of these accumulated errors is difficult to quantify, because it is difficult to numerically compute a confidence interval on a sum of heterogeneous estimates. On the other hand, the method used in this report, of computing separate estimates at all levels and groupings of analysis, disregarding the differences between the underlying known subdivisions in the data, is that we lose information regarding heterogeneity in these underlying subpopulations. For example, estimates made without regard to underlying Lpt (Lpt=All) will be most influenced by those underlying Lpts with high sales, and may mask the influence of estimates for individual special Lpts with much lower sales. In using this report to look up harvest statistics for a given District, compare the sum of the estimates at the finest level of analysis with the estimates for the higher grouped levels. Be sure to also look at the confidence intervals on the estimates to assess relative statistical precision.
Because the presented hunting and harvest statistics are estimates, upper and lower confidence bounds on the estimates may exceed the range of values thought to be reasonable for a given statistic. For example, though the estimate of number of active hunters never exceeds the number of licenses issued, the upper bound on the estimate of number of hunters may do so. Though the estimate of harvest never exceeds the estimate of the number of active hunters, the upper bound on harvest may do so. The confidence bounds are included as a measure of variability in the estimate. They are allowed to fall where they may, and are truncated only when the lower bound falls below zero.
Hunting Statistics Tables
The Special Big Game Hunting Statistics Tables present basic hunting effort statistics, and ratios based on these statistics, for various levels and combinations of location hunted (Location), license type held (Lic Type), and residency of hunter (Res). Tables are presented for each species separately.
These tables are organized as follows:
Statewide and Regional
By Hunting District and License Type
The following statistics are presented:
Number Issued: Number of licenses issued.
Expand Factor: Expansion Factor. Licenses issued divided by number of valid responses.
Hunters: Point estimate of number of license holders that actively hunted.
Hunters Low Bnd: Lower bound of 80% confidence interval on number of hunters.
Hunters Up Bnd: Upper bound of 80% confidence interval on number of hunters.
Percent Hunting: Estimate of the percent of license holders that actively hunted.
Hunter Days: Point estimate of total number of days or partial days hunters actively hunted.
HDays Low Bnd: Lower bound of 80% confidence interval on number of hunter days.
HDays Up Bnd: Upper bound of 80% confidence interval on number of hunter days.
Days Per Hunter: Hunter Days divided by Hunters. An estimate of the number of days the average hunter actively hunted.
Harvest Statistics Tables
The Special Big Game Harvest Statistics Tables present basic harvest statistics, and ratios based on these statistics, for various levels and combinations of location hunted (Location), license type held (Lic Type), and residency of hunter (Res). Tables are presented for each species separately.
These tables are organized as follows:
Statewide and Regional
By Hunting District and License Type
The following statistics are presented:
Number Issued: Number of licenses issued.
Hunters: Point estimate of number of license holders that actively hunted.
Total Harvest: Point estimate of total number harvested. One kill is allowed per licensed hunter, therefore the harvest estimate is also an estimate of the number of successful hunters.
Harvest Low Bnd: Lower bound of 80% confidence interval on total harvest.
Harvest Up Bnd: Upper bound of 80% confidence interval on total harvest.
Harvest Unkn: Point estimate of number harvested where sex and age was unknown.
Harvest Young: Point estimate of number of young of year harvested.
Harvest Female: Point estimate of number of non-young females harvested.
Harvest Male: Point estimate of number of non-young males harvested.
Pcnt Young: Estimate of percent of young of year in harvest.
Pcnt Female: Estimate of percent of non-young females in harvest.
Pcnt Male: Estimate of percent of non-young males in harvest.
Percent Success: Estimated harvest (successful hunters) divided by estimated number of active hunters. Percent of active hunters who are successful.
Days To Kill: Hunter days divided by total harvest. An estimate of the average number of hunter days required to harvest an animal.
Tags To Kill: Licenses issued divided by total harvest. An estimate of the average number of licenses which must be issued to harvest an animal.
Time Period of Kill Tables
The Special Big Game Time Period of Kill Tables present point estimates of Total Harvest, plus the distribution of harvest by time period, for various levels and combinations of location hunted (Location), license type held (Lic Type), and residency of hunter (Res). Percentages of harvest by time period, based on these estimates, are also presented. Tables are presented for each species separately.
These tables are organized as follows:
Statewide and Regional
By Hunting District and License Type
The following statistics are presented:
Total Harvest: Point estimate of total number harvested.
Date Unkn: Estimate of harvest occurring during an unknown time period.
Sep 1-14: Estimate of harvest occurring during the 1st two weeks of September (Time Period 1).
Sep 15 Oct 5: Estimate of harvest occurring during the next 3 week period (Time Period 2).
Oct 6 - Nov 2: Estimate of harvest occurring during the next 4 week period (Time Period 3).
Nov 3 - Nov 23: Estimate of harvest occurring during the next 3 week period (Time Period 4).
Nov 24 - Nov 30: Estimate of harvest occurring during the week of Thanksgiving (Time Period 5).
After Nov 30: Estimate of harvest occurring late in the season (Time Period 6).
Pcnt 1st: Percent of total harvest occurring during the first time period.
Pcnt 2nd: Percent of total harvest occurring during the second time period.
Pcnt 3rd: Percent of total harvest occurring during the third time period.
Pcnt 4th: Percent of total harvest occurring during the fourth time period.
Pcnt 5th: Percent of total harvest occurring during the fifth time period.
Pcnt 6th: Percent of total harvest occurring during the sixth time period.
Notes Applying to All Special Big Game Tables:
Undefined values are indicated with the flag 0.0. It occurs when an estimate of zero is used in the denominator of a ratio.
Out of format range values are indicated with ######. These entries occur when the numerator of a ratio, relative to the denominator, is so large that the ratio is essentially meaningless.
The page numbers in the lower right hand corner indicate the consecutive page in the Special Big Game Report. The page numbers in the upper right of each table title header indicate a page within a given table. Each table will have pages numbered beginning with 1.
The date March 23, 2004 printed throughout this report and in the title of the tables indicates the date the statistical estimates presented in this report were generated. This provides a version stamp in the event the statistics are regenerated using altered source data or analysis methods.
PAGE
PAGE 7
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Research - Harvest Surveys - 1999 Elk Hunting and Harvest Report August 11, 2002
PAGE 1
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks - Wildlife Research - Harvest Surveys - 2003 Special Big Game Hunting & Harvest Report March 23, 2004
PAGE 7
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