Well Full Force Five, it looks like we have an impasse here. You contend that because some of the survey questions were leading, in your and Cancarver's opinion, you "wouldn't give a plug nickel for the results contained in your "survey" and the NDSA should not be a voice for real sportsman."
In response, let me say first that all studies all flawed. I've been doing research for quite a while, and I haven't seen a perfect study yet. The real question is whether or not the study, given that it wasn't perfect, is good enough to draw valid inferences.
Let's take a moment to examine what we do know about the survey and our current impasse:
1. I can honestly say that the survey was an earnest attempt to estimate how resident hunters of North Dakota felt about nonresident waterfowl hunters and their impacts on the quality of their hunting. Early on in this debate (going back a couple of years or more), those opposing caps tried to portray the support for caps as coming only from a few disgruntled hunters in Jamestown, North Dakota who formed the North Dakota Sportsmen's Alliance. I told the Directors of the Alliance that we should go way out of our way to do the survey as best as we could to find out for ourselves whether resident hunters, as a whole, supported our views. So doing the survey well was just as important for deciding whether or not to continue the battle to restrict nonresident hunters (to a reasonable level) as it was for gathering ammunition to support the Alliance's viewpoint, and defending it against unfounded attacks such as yours. So it was very much in the best interest of the Alliance's efforts to try to measure public sentiment accurately and precisely.
2. A lot of highly qualified researchers think the survey was very well done. A very partial list of these folks includes myself (Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries Science from LSU, currently employed as a Wildlife Research Biologist for a federal science center), Dr. Brian Gray (Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries, Mississippi State University, currently employed as the Head of Conservation for a major wildlife conservation organization and who did his Ph.D. with a mail survey such as ours and who has since published at least a dozen papers using mail survey data), Dr. Glen Sargeant (Ph.D., Wildlife and Fisheries, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, currently employed as a Statistician at a federal science center), Mr. Terry Shaffer (M.S., Applied Statistics, University of Minnesota at Crookston, currently employed as the Chief of Northern Plains Ecology at a federal science center), and Dr. Mark Nawrot (MRN above [please fill in the educational details here, Mark], who is a Professor of Psychology at a major college and who also teaches a course in Research Methodology).
3. Two anonymous Internet posters, Cancarver from Wisconsin and Full Force Five from Minnesota, think the survey is totally invalid. We know nothing about Cancarver's credentials in reaching this conclusion, but we know that Full Force Five, who agrees entirely with him, stated above that "I know what I'm talking about in terms of conducting an unbiased surveys, I do if for a living along with analyzing data." We also know from Full Force Five's statement above that "I asked another friend of mine who works for the largest survey firms in the nation, he just laughed at some of the questions." We know nothing more about Full Force Five's or his friend's credentials.
4. Both of you and Cancarver took issue primarily with Question 8, even though the NDSA's viewpoint of restricting nonresident hunters was LEAST supported by the results of that question, where less than 50% of respondents answered Yes. All of your suggested changes to Question 8 would have simply allowed one to make an inference as to whether or not hunting quality had changed over time for resident hunters. We all know that quality of hunting could be influenced by a myriad of factors. We wanted to know whether or not residents perceived nonresident hunters as impacting the quality of their hunting experiences, so we asked this question directly. We were very careful throughout the survey to never say that nonresident hunters were "good" or "bad." That's what makes the questions nonleading. I think MRN above addressed quite well your accusations on "leading" questions.
5. Neither you nor Cancarver, nor anyone else for that matter, has any data whatsoever to refute any of the results of the survey. I'll make the same offer to you that I did to Cancarver---if you'd like to do your own survey to test the validity of ours, I'll send you the HIP database free of charge to get you started. The survey itself, if you follow the same accepted methodology that we did, will cost you about $1500 in postage, plus about 300 hours of time for data entry, error-checking, and analysis.
I could go on, but I really don't think it's necessary to convince anyone on this board of whether or not the results of the survey can be trusted. Your clear animosity toward the results of the survey, and for the North Dakota Sportsmen's Alliance, is evident in your statement, "I wouldn't give a plug nickel for the results contained in your "survey" and the NDSA should not be a voice for real sportsman." This statement strongly indicates that your efforts to discredit the survey are motived by your dislike of the results, and their significance in terms of restricting nonresidents' access to come and hunt in North Dakota each and every year they so choose. I think it's time for you to take your rubber knife and "rolling eye smiley faces" and retire from this gunfight. If you'd care to identify yourself, along with your mailing address, I will send you a reprint of the paper after it is published.
Here's something for all nonresidents to consider: Over the last few years, the freelance nonresident hunter who came to North Dakota to hunt waterfowl lost forever what he once had, and that situation has changed forever. The news about the wonderful waterfowl hunting in North Dakota was spread wide to the world via articles in DU and Wildfowl magazines, the Internet, and other sources. More and more and more nonresidents started coming to North Dakota, and hunters who either lived here or had been coming here to hunt as nonresidents for several the years could see the hunting quality deteriorate more and more every year. For wealthy nonresidents who don't mind paying large sums of money to guides or large landowners for exclusive access to hunt, the current situation is not a bad deal, and may even be better than it was in the past. For both the freelance nonresident hunter and the freelance resident hunter, the current situation is much worse than in the past, and our survey makes that clear. The only way nonresidents are going to maintain some semblance of "the way things were" is by restrictions on the number of nonresident hunters allowed. Eric Hustad stated well above that you can support restrictions and have good hunting in half or more of the years, on average, or oppose restrictions and have bad hunting each and every year.
Here's one final point for all resident hunters to consider: There's been some discussion on this board regarding whether or not to form a North Dakota Waterfowler's Association or similar group. Muzzy (who works for NDGF) correctly pointed out that we have a preponderance of small wildlife clubs throughout the state now. I think that the relatively small readership on this board will only add another small club. If you truly are concerned about waterfowl hunting quality and other important wildlife issues, I urge you to join and become active in one of the already established sportsmen's groups. If you don't have the stomach or desire to be labeled as "one of the guys in the black hats," instead of joining the North Dakota Sporsmen's Alliance you could join the North Dakota Wildlife Federation, the United Sportsmen of North Dakota, Cass County Wildlife, or the group up at Grand Forks (forgive me, I couldn't remember the name). If you do, you will discover that all of these groups have been fighting on the same side for some time now, even though it is largely the Sportsmen's Alliance that gets beat up in the press and on Internet talk sites. In fact, there have been several joint resolutions passed by all the major wildlife clubs in the state in the last several months, which included the Sportsmen's Alliance.