Efficiency of a recreational deer hunting bag limit

  • Geoffrey N. KerrEmail author
Original Article


Maximisation of aggregate recreational hunter benefits involves managing both the prey and the hunter. The biology of game animals, and hence the supply side of the management situation, is reasonably well understood, but there is relatively little information on the demand side. On public lands, where there is no market to signal the quality of the hunting experience, the game manager has little guidance on how to allocate the resource amongst individual hunters. In New Zealand, there is no attempt to do so. Whilst seeing and killing game are known to enhance individual hunters’ benefits, the allocation of the resource across hunters raises the prospect of limiting individual hunter harvests, normally enacted through a bag limit. The benefits of doing so are dependent upon the marginal benefits of different levels of harvest. The relationship between hunter satisfaction and the number of animals killed is explored using data from a longitudinal study of a large panel of deer hunters. Latent class models of satisfaction outperform random parameter models and identify heterogeneous groups of hunters whose satisfaction is differentially dependent on game sightings and harvest. Personal attributes and hunter motivations help explain some of these differences. Heterogeneous and rapidly diminishing marginal satisfaction present a strong case for management of at least part of the open-access New Zealand red deer herd to enhance social welfare by increasing the number of hunters harvesting a deer rather than going home empty-handed.


Satisfaction Ordered logit Red deer Hunting New Zealand Latent class analysis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

In 2013, the author was appointed to the inaugural New Zealand Game Animal Council and is a current councillor. Data collection was complete at the time of appointment to the Game Animal Council.

Research involving human participants

The Lincoln University Human Ethics Committee approved the data collection instruments and survey methods. Data collection complied with approved processes.

Research involving animals

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental ManagementLincoln UniversityLincolnNew Zealand

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