well I'll weigh in I guess. Some of you may know my background and some not. I have a degree in wildlife mngt and had a long career (31 years) in state Fisheries Management. As a Fisheries manager I often shared the same space with other biologist managing game birds and other game animals. I will confess that there were some that made you scratch your head and think, "what planet is this guy on". However, the vast majority work hard at gathering scientific fact and genuinely want to do what is best for the animals and sportsmen alike. Do such things as tradition and social impressions influence the science at time, yes it does. what the field biologist often runs into on regulations are high lever administrators who owe their jobs to political and social pun-dents and thus are often forced to make what seems like irrational laws. After all, without the political support the really valuable laws can't be passed. As sad as it is most wildlife agencies authority is ultimately controlled by politicians, and they do at time supersede scientific fact. That is why it is important to know what your state legislatures and governors support and vote accordingly. In most cases the science prevails, but where there is money involved science may get pushed aside, like when business' want hunter's dollars and those dollars generate sales tax, which wildlife agencies get little or none of. So please be sympathetic towards your paid profession wildlife people, they are doing the very best they can in difficult times. It is not always their fault, yet sometimes they do goof up, just like anyone else on their job. For the most part they are hunters and fishermen and they work very hard at doing what is best for everyone. Science is often a trial and error approach and some things have to be tried to see what works. When working in the natural environment that means waiting a few years for your results, it is not a field that gives fast answers.
As for sportsmen's opinions, they are welcome as they are the one on the ground and a vast source of information. Literally millions of hours observing the game being managed are accumulated by sportsmen. That is a data set most scientist in other fields would envy and impossible to hire enough people to acquire. So when wildlife agencies ask you to participate in a survey or check your game, it is for data more than to enforce laws. If you visit agencies or their websites they are always looking for information. Outdoor enthusiast often let their emotions drive their concerns and opinions. Often they are looking at a small picture. I have participated in many forums with sportsmen's groups and listened to many many concerns. I can tell you perhaps 20% of the people voicing concerns actually bring solid facts to the table. Mostly they speak from emotion and limited personal experience from a small data set. Yes a particular township or lake may have a problem at this point and time, but your biologist is looking at the big picture. Can your problem be an indicator of something bigger or just a local fluctuation that will in time fix it's self, that is a hard question most of the time. My suggestion is if you want to be taken seriously put some thought and data in your concerns when you approach professionals and they will respect you.
I'll give you and example. We had a local fishing club that fished a specific lake and kept good catch records and recorded observations. when they came to us with data we took them seriously and initiated a research project to investigate. We discovered an unknown pollution source and worked with local politicians to solve it. several years later the lake is again a thriving fishery. It was the sportsman, who spent countless hours on the lake, who saw the problem first, but they were taken seriously because they came with well thought out concerns and facts. So if you want to be listened to don't just bitch about, "I did not jump one grouse today, they're all gone" or I never heard but three gobblers all spring, we need to quit killing hens in the fall", keep some diaries and come with well thought out facts. Believe me as a formal state Wildlife Agency employee, we get called frigging idiots and bitched at everyday of our careers and yes over time we learn to tune it out and sometimes we tune out well meaning people. I can personally tell you it got my attention when some one said, I appreciate what you guys do and that you work hard, but I do have some concerns". If you walked in my office and started with, "when are you guys gonna do something about lake yada, I went into the defensive rhetoric mode and when the bitcher left so did my concern. I probably deserve some criticism for that, but I would guess most of you react similar when your subjected to repeated accusations and criticisms of your job performance, especially when you are confident they are unfounded.
Bust em, Bag em, thank HIm