Hunters' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice towards Wildlife Disease in Ohio

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The Ohio State University

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Ethnographic research is critical to understanding the human dimensions of wildlife diseases and management, as it allows us to understand the potential social contributors of disease transmission in specific populations. Hunters play a significant role in the ecology of wildlife disease because of their relationship with wildlife, especially in light of outbreaks of diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease in whitetail deer. The aim of this project is to examine how hunters shape the ecology of infectious diseases. Specifically, this project examines how Ohio hunters’ knowledge, attitudes and practices affect risk exposure. Ethnographic methods including semi-structured interviews and grounded theory were used to collect and analyze data about hunters’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices towards disease. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty-one hunters from Southeast Ohio and surrounding areas, and an online survey was distributed to a random sample of licensed Ohio hunters. Data analyses suggest that hunters learn about wildlife disease through word-of-mouth, hunting publications and online sources, and that hunting practices are informed by these sources. However, hunters perceive low to no risk of exposure to infectious diseases. The results of this research allow us to better understand the role of hunters in the ecology of infectious wildlife diseases and allow us to identify interventions that would most effectively inform hunters about wildlife diseases and how to modify hunting practices as to minimize their risk of exposure to infectious diseases.



wildlife disease, human dimensions, human animal interactions, ethnography, one health, public health, KAP