Many, large and early: Hunting pressure on wild boar relates to simple metrics of hunting effort

Pablo Vajas, Clément Calenge, Emmanuelle Richard, Julien Fattebert, Cyril Rousset, Sonia Saïd, Eric Baubet
Science of the Total Environment 2020 January 1, 698: 134251
Wild boar populations have increased dramatically over the last decades throughout Europe and in France in particular. While hunting is considered the most efficient way to control game populations, many local conflicts persist after the hunting period due to remaining high densities of wild boar despite the large number of animals culled every year. Therefore, increasing the efficiency of hunting is a timely issue. Herein, we assessed how hunting effort can be measured, and we determined whether the hunting effort carried out by hunters explains the observed hunting pressure. We measured the characteristics and results of all hunts that occurred in the experimental forest of Châteauvillain-Arc-en-Barrois (Northeastern France), and we modelled the number of animals culled as a function of the hunting effort, measured by the number of beaters, hunters, and dogs, as well as the size of the hunting area. We also accounted for variables suspected to affect the hunting efficiency achieved with a given effort, such as time of day (AM/PM), the month during which hunting occurred. We found that more posted hunters, larger hunted areas, and hunts carried out early in the season, i.e. before February, increased the number of culled animals. Our model can be used by wildlife managers to adjust hunting effort in order to reach the hunting pressure expected to meet management objectives.

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