In 2012, Minnesota’s first-ever regulated wolf hunting and trapping season occurred. Research has suggested that beliefs about risks and benefits associated with carnivores affect their acceptance. Using results from a 2013 mail survey of hunters and trappers who participated in the season, we employed mediation analysis to examine how risk- and benefit-based beliefs influenced the relationship between attitudes about wolves and management preferences and behavioral intentions. Analyses differentiated hunters and trappers. Beliefs about risks and benefits partially explained the relationship between attitudes and wolf management preferences among hunters, while risk-based beliefs fully accounted for management preferences in the trapper sample. Beliefs about risks associated with wolves were most strongly related to management preferences among both hunters and trappers. Beliefs about the risks wolves present to desired game species may be symbolic among hunters and trappers, therefore, managers may be challenged to gain support for recovering wolf populations among these stakeholders.
- Gray wolves
- salient beliefs