Five thousand duck hunters will be receiving surveys from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries as part of the annual waterfowl survey, the agency reported.

The survey — conducted in partnership with LSU's School of Renewable Natural Resources — asks about waterfowl hunting and seeks input on the new hunting zones and boundaries. Recipients also will be asked about potential future hunting-season dates, the LDWF said.

"We are mailing surveys to 5,000 randomly selected waterfowl hunters: 2,500 printed surveys with follow-ups to be completed and mailed back, and 2,500 postcards with Internet pass codes to be completed online," LDWF's Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds said.

All hunters can participate in the survey, which is found here. LDWF' officials encourage everyone who hunted waterfowl last season to fill out the survey so they can collect comprehensive information about hunter attitudes and success rates.

In addition to gathering hunter-opinion data to better inform future decisions on waterfowl hunting regulations, the survey is a continuation of a cooperative human-dimensions research project conducted by LDWF's Waterfowl Section and LSU.

LDWF is using multiple survey distribution methods in an effort to engage as many Louisiana waterfowl hunters as possible and increase participation in the regulatory process.

"Response rates are always a concern, especially when they fall as low as the 17 percent we received last year from the random mail-out survey," Reynolds said.
The department is encouraging all waterfowl hunters, especially those who receive a survey in the mail, to participate — and this year LDWF is providing an incentive.

All waterfowl hunters who participate in the survey will be entered in a drawing for one of three prizes: a White Lake Wetland Conservation Area hunt for two on opening day of the 2013 September teal season, a Remington 887 Nitro-Mag 12-gauge shotgun or a Cabela's Brush Buster GORE-TEX 4-in-1 parka or wading jacket.

Last season, LDWF changed the number of waterfowl hunting zones for the first time in 36 years, created new zone boundaries for the first time in 11 years, and experienced controversy in setting season dates in some of the zones. This and future surveys are required by the USFWS to evaluate the satisfaction with changes in the zones, and  offer an opportunity for all waterfowl hunters to provide input into future decisions.