Differences in ungulate population use in different hunting ground units in Lithuania

  • Tomas Barkauskas Vytautas Magnus University, K. Donelaičio St. 58, 44248 Kaunas, Lithuania
  • Olgirda Belova 2Institute of Forestry LAMMC, Liepu str. 1, Girionys 53101, Kaunas District
  • Loreta Griciuvienė Vytautas Magnus University, K. Donelaičio St. 58, 44248 Kaunas, Lithuania

Abstract

Abundant ungulate populations are considered ecosystem drivers that affect forestry and agriculture. Their management is ecologically and economically based on game density regulations, considering the balance between density and carrying capacity of the territory, population status and dynamics, as well as hunting needs. Although the population status and dynamics are not new questions, it is still unclear how to manage populations properly depending on the hunting intensity. We aimed to analyse and compare the ungulate population status like moose, red deer, roe deer and wild boar in the Punia pine forest, where the commercial hunting is conducted, and in the hunting grounds managed by hunter clubs in Prienai forest. We performed the study during four hunting seasons of 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013. The data on harvesting and abundance were obtained from the field works and using the official statistics of the Ministry of Environment. The moose local populations are not abundant, or animals occur occasionally, and their density does not reach the minimum permissible rate. At the same time within the study area, moose hunting is remained to be insufficient. The red deer population is rather stable in the hunting grounds used by hunter clubs while hardly reaches the minimum density rate. On the commercial hunting area, the population density 2-3 times exceeds the permissible density rate. The red deer population should be harvested more intensively. The wild boar is used intensively in the grounds of hunter clubs, while animal density is close to the permissible rate. Unfortunately, on the areas of commercial hunting, wild boar is not actively managed that is why their density exceeds permissible rate even four times. The main harvested species are red deer and wild boar in both hunting grounds. Their abundant populations stay close to permissible density rate. However, gamekeepers keep the larger animal numbers on the areas of commercial hunting. As the main aim is the trophy hunting, the stags and boars are most used when compared to females and young. Therefore, on the areas of commercial hunting, use of wild boar and red deer is unreasonable and their density exceeds permissible rate several times. Keywords: commercial hunting, hunting clubs, population, status, ungulate
Published
2020-12-19
Section
Wildlife management