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.