Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease that affects deer, elk and other cervid wildlife species. Although there is no known link between the consumption of CWD affected meat and human health, hunters are advised to have animals from CWD affected areas tested and are advised against consuming meat from CWD infected animals (Government of Alberta 2010). We model hunter response to the knowledge that deer in a wildlife management unit have been found to have CWD in Alberta, Canada. We examine hunter site choice over two hunting seasons using revealed and stated preference data in models that incorporate preferences, choice set formation, and scale. We compare a fully endogenous choice set model using the independent availability logit model (Swait in Probabilistic choice set formation in transportation demand models. Dissertation, MIT, 1984) with the availability function approach (Cascetta and Papola in Transp Res C 9(4):249–263, 2001) that approximates choice set formation. We find that CWD incidence affects choice set formation and preferences and that ignoring choice set formation would result in biased estimates of impact and welfare measures. This study contributes to the broader recreation demand literature by incorporating choice set formation, scale and temporal impacts into a random utility model of recreation demand.
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