We used a multiple-satisfaction approach to assess demand for elk hunting opportunities in Colorado. We used a mail-out instrument and follow-up telephone interview to contact a random sample of resident and nonresident Colorado elk (Cervus elaphus) hunters (n = 1,618). The majority of elk hunters preferred rifle hunts that maximize hunting frequency but also coincide with higher hunter densities and smaller male elk. We also found that hunters preferred management alternatives that allow frequent hunts for moderate-sized animals over alternatives that focus on trophy hunting. Consistent with other studies employing the multiple satisfaction construct and with principles that guide experience-based management, we found that not all hunters seek the same type of hunting opportunity. This would suggest that within the constraints of cost, providing a range of hunting opportunities will result in a broader range of benefits to the hunting public. Data were used not only to indicate preference for different herd management alternatives but also to provide the basis for estimating total number of hunters afield in a given year and expected license-sale revenue across alternatives. Information we provided has aided the Colorado Division of Wildlife in updating its big-game-hunting regulatory process.
experience based management