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Effects of Urban Sprawl on Hunting Participation in the Southeastern United States

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Hunting is an important but declining activity in the Southeastern United States. Although our understanding of what causes this decline is incomplete, the period of decline coincided with rapid urbanization in the region. Urban sprawl, which is changing sociocultural traditions and leisure patterns, may be a driver in declines in hunting. Therefore, using county-level data for the Southeastern United States, we developed a log-linear demand model of hunting to estimate effects of urban sprawl on hunting. Results suggest that an increase in urban population and dispersal of low-density residential development in the wildland reduced hunting participation in the region. This implies that feasibility and effectiveness of hunting as a wildlife management tool may decrease if the current urbanization trend persists in the region. Results also suggest a need to promote hunting within urban populations and for maintaining hunting opportunities by promoting tighter management of urban sprawl to conserve huntable areas, increasing public hunting land, and possibly increasing public access to private lands.
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Keywords: Southeastern United States; human dimensions; hunting; land use change; log-linear demand; urban sprawl

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-08-01

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