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General Experience Rather Than of Local Knowledge is Important for Grouse Hunters Bag Size

Asmyhr, Lasse, Willebrand, Tomas, Hörnell-Willebrand, Maria
Human dimensions of wildlife 2012 v.17 no.6 pp. 437-445
attitudes and opinions, gender, grouse, statistics, wildlife, wildlife management
Wildlife harvest management requires an understanding of hunter behavioral interactions with the game. Hunter harvest is indicated to be more dependent on experience and attitudes than game abundance. We tested how the grouse hunter's bag size was affected or not by having local knowledge of the hunting ground, grouse density, and distribution. The local knowledge was acquired through approximately a decade of conducting pre-hunt counts, and was tested against hunters without the local knowledge, but who had similar experience of counting grouse from other areas. Hunters with local knowledge were not more efficient in bagging grouse than hunters without local knowledge. Rather, there seems to be the general variation in experience among hunters that regulated harvest rates, through number of grouse encounters, and gender of the hunters. The results add support to the concern of using bag statistics as an index for population changes of wildlife species.