Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Patterns of selective hunting and its indirect effects on ungulate populations (#366)

Atle Mysterud 1
  1. University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Selective hunting is an old and wide-spread management tradition for ungulate populations. Hunter selectivity is most commonly driven by either a desire to shoot males with large trophies (such as antlers and horns), or to avoid shooting females with offspring and to rather target individuals with low reproductive value (such as juveniles) to enhance population growth. Intentional selectivity due to hunter preferences is clearly a very important force. Many countries already have management practices for avoiding undesirable consequences of unregulated trophy hunting. Selectivity is often largely modified by management (through specific quotas), culture, time constraints and economic incentives. Selectivity may also arise due to differences in behaviour among animals making them more or less prone to being shot. Any level of hunting of an animal population may have an impact on population dynamics by removing individuals. When hunting is selective, it largely affects the remaining sex-ratio and age-structure, and thereby also indirectly a range of other processes that is less well documented. In theory, differing mortality patterns and skewed sex-ratio and age-structure due to selective hunting will yield markedly different selective pressures from those impinging on populations without hunting or with large predators. The aim of this talk is to present empirical patterns of hunter selectivity and analysis of why they arise, and empirical evidence of indirect effects related to changes in age structure and sex ratio.