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A new era of harvest on private lands in the USA: when should we manage pheasants like fish?




Powell, Larkin, speaker
van Hoven, Wouter, moderator
International Wildlife Ranching Symposium, producer

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Hunters on public and private lands in the USA are regulated by harvest and possession limits. Wildlife managers rarely design spatially-explicit regulations or quotas for individual properties. Two policies on private lands could affect local harvest dynamics: fee hunting and guided hunting on private lands, and payments by states to private landowners to obtain Open Access rights for public use. These could result in higher levels of harvest on specific parcels of privately owned land, suggesting the need for new methods to prevent over-harvest. A third dynamic may have synergistic effects: fragmentation of private forests, wetlands, and grasslands has increased to the point that dispersal of game animals could be affected. I used spatial simulations to show how animals such as northern bobwhite, deer, and ring-necked pheasants can be legally over-harvested when multiple parties hunt the same parcel of land. During scenarios based on observed rates of use on Open Access-type lands in Nebraska, male pheasants were not predicted to survive the hunting season, and over 85% of female pheasants were illegally harvested when error rates were 1% per hunting party. Spatial modeling suggests that the level of fragmentation in eastern Nebraska does not allow the dispersal of pheasants to repopulate depleted areas. Shorter hunting seasons and state-supported monitoring should be implemented on Open Access lands that have high use potential. Also, landowners who engage in fee hunting should have their lands monitored to establish suggested harvest levels or quotas to protect the public resource.


Moderator: Wouter van Hoven.
Presented at the 8th international congress for wildlife and livelihoods on private and communal lands: livestock, tourism, and spirit, that was held on September 7-12, 2014 in Estes Park, Colorado.

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Wildlife management -- Congresses
Range management -- Congresses


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