Date of Award

Winter 2000

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Peter J Pekins


Major objectives of this study were to examine the motivations, knowledge level and attitudes of wildlife viewers as well as the response of moose to observation and other human caused stimuli at a designated wildlife viewing site. Moose and other wildlife are attracted to areas where road salt runoffs and pools in low areas around culverts and ditches creating wildlife viewing opportunities.

This study examined whether moose behaviors such as visitation time and rate of use of the salt lick changed from preconstruction (1996) of a wildlife blind to wildlife viewing establishment (1999). Trailmaster monitors strategically located on trails entering the licks were used to determine that no changes in moose visitation and use patterns occurred. In addition moose responses to a variety of human stimuli including visitors in the viewing blind, visitors walking along the trail, visitors talking, cars stopping on the roadway, trucks passing and humans out of cars approaching moose were recorded during 42 observation periods conducted summers of 1997--1999. Moose showed no response to wildlife viewers using the viewing blind or walking along the trail, however, their behavior patterns changed when cars stopped along the road and trucks passed.

A segment of the study involved interviewing 439 viewers at the site during 1997--1998 and then follow by a mail survey. Mail surveys were used to determine motivations, level of wildlife knowledge, satisfaction and attitudes toward wildlife management. The 209 completed surveys indicated viewers had a variety of motivations for watching wildlife and most were satisfied with their experiences in Dixville Notch. There were changes in knowledge level from the interview to the mail survey. In addition attitudes about managing wildlife viewing sites were provided including the willingness for more regulations, not wanting to have artificially created experiences and a willingness to forgo options which would increase the number of animals at the site.

Results of this research provide recommendations for designing and planning wildlife viewing areas to maximize viewing and learning opportunities. A traditional multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary planning approach to using sociological and biological research results are discussed.