USING IVR TECHNOLOGY TO SURVEY MOOSE HUNTERS IN NEW BRUNSWICK
For many wildlife agencies, hunter surveys provide useful data on hunter effort, harvests, hunter demographics and opinion on resource issues. Traditional formats for these types of surveys include either mail-out/mail-in survey forms or direct contact via telephone. Often these surveys are time-consuming and expensive for management agencies to conduct and the accuracy of some of the information obtained may be suspect because data are not collected until weeks or months following the end of hunting seasons. Low response rates are common because survey forms are often detailed and time-consuming for the hunter to complete, or the survey timing is inconvenient. In the fall of 1995, the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources & Energy (DNRE) experimented with a new approach for obtaining moose hunter information by utilizing interactive voice response (IVR) technology. This two-step electronic process involved (i) leaving a brief explanatory/introductory message on the voice mail systems of more than 17,000 moose hunter applicants, inviting them to call a toll-free service and participate in an electronic telephone survey, and (ii) providing a brief four question IVR survey soliciting input on moose management issues. Herein we report on the results of the IVR survey, compare the costs and benefits of the IVR system to traditional survey methods used in New Brunswick, and suggest ways that emerging technologies might be adapted by wildlife agencies to effectively solicit input from resource users and stakeholders.
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