Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology


Dr. Robert B. Powell

Committee Member

Dr. Denise M. Anderson

Committee Member

Dr. J. Drew Lanham

Committee Member

Dr. Patricia A. Layton

Committee Member

Dr. D. DeWayne Moore


The purpose of this study was to develop a survey instrument to measure the psychological benefits related to hunting. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was used as a theoretical framework which includes five levels: Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, Self-Esteem and Self-Actualization. Simple yes/no questions were developed to measure physiological and safety levels while existing scales were used to measure love/belonging and self-esteem. However, it was necessary to develop a scale to measure self-actualization. A pilot study was conducted to develop a scale to measure self-actualization. The 44-question survey was mailed to South Carolina (SC) resident hunting license holders (n = 300; 28% response rate). We developed a reliable scale to measure Awe experiences, representing self-actualization (S-B χ2 = 409.31; CFI = 0.956; RMSEA = 0.05). A second survey was conducted to develop the full model measuring Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that incorporated the scale for measuring self-actualization along with measures for the four remaining levels. The survey was administered by mail to SC resident hunting license holders (n = 995; 20% response rate) and online to participants of the Quality Deer Management Association’s Deer Steward program (n = 871; 46.5% response rate). The survey contained 51 measures of hunter needs and 10 sociodemographic questions. A valid and reliable instrument was developed, the Benefits of Hunting Assessment Scale (BoHAS), to gauge benefits received through hunting (S-B χ2 = 1998.1; CFI = 0.953; RMSEA = 0.057; Rho = 0.975; α = 0.965). The final model included one higher order factor, BoHAS, 3 primary sub-factors (Love/Belonging, Self-Esteem and Self-Actualization, as measured by Awe) and 6 sub-factors of Awe. There were no difference in the BoHAS scores by gender (B = 0.01732; β = 0.01268; Z = 0.08814; p = 0.2). This finding implies that women and men receive the same benefits through hunting.