Posted by: Dan | March 2, 2010

Migratory Bird Management

Here’s a concept that is probably utterly foreign to bird trappers and hunters: Wildlife management. As illustrated by the Cyprus Hunters Association, they’re utterly clueless as to what to do when bird populations decrease substantially. That linked article is nothing new, but it shows that the hunters recognize that wintering thrush populations have dropped by some 60-80% in the past 20 years or so. It also shows that they haven’t even began to wonder what might be causing this drop, only that they are thinking how to manage to continue shooting as many birds as they could when populations were higher.

The hunters have not a hint of understanding of the concept of “Population management.” Instead, they are focused solely on maximizing their hunting success.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of information readily available on the web for wildlife management and hunting. The best I’ve been able to find is the Division of Migratory Bird Management within the US Department of Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS).

Within that USFWS website, for instance, are:

  • Important Information for Waterfowl and Sandhill Crane Hunters – which provides waterfowl and sandhill crane hunters with information that will reduce the likelihood of shooting illegally at migratory birds that may look like sandhill cranes, but for which there is no open season and are protected by Federal law.
  • Adaptive Harvest Management – The annual process of setting duck-hunting regulations in the United States is based on a system of population monitoring.
  • And a link to the Flyways Project, a constantly-updated resource created by waterfowl hunting managers across North America.

This is the sort of thing that conservationists across Europe want hunters in the Mediterranean to consider. No, we’re not trying to criminalize hunting completely. We just want hunters to manage their game populations, thereby preserving wildlife for future generations.


Responses

  1. Very relevant point – finally it all comes down to education. Intuitively the service provided by the web you mention seems to be more about gun management than sustainability of wildlife – which at the end of the day, just as in the fish and gaming – this ought to be standard practice and in sum, its all about caring. In this case, as you probably have concluded, responsibilities are at higher level. In appreciation for your constancy in bringing forward valuable informations, I believe it’s high time for a program that focuses less on ‘wanting’ for them to care and moving to a phase of ‘making them’ care.

  2. I was talking to a French hunter the other day and he explained to me the hunting booklet that every hunter must carry with him at all times when hunting.
    When a hunter shoots a bird, before he even touches it, he must write in the booklet the date, the time and the species shot. Only then he can pick it up and put in on his belt. That way the authorities can check a hunter at any time that he is keeping a correct record of what is being killed. Also in France the quotas are not only for number of birds per hunter per day (as in Cyprus) but they have weekly and even yearly quotas. For example the number of thrushes a Cypriot hunter can kill in unlimited! If they put a limit on say, 10 thrushes/hunter/week, or 20 thrushes/hunter/season then the massacres we see every Sunday can be avoided. Surely this is some kind of management that can be put into place easily. It will help the Game Fund police the situation and also get clear figures of how much is being killed every year.

  3. Hi Chris,
    That’s exactly the sort of thing that I was thinking of. Well, that, plus hoping that a little education helps the hunters see the value in preserving their game so their grandchildren can hunt too (if they love hunting that much, and want their kids to enjoy their sport as much).


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