Factors affecting waterfowl hunting and harvest at the Evros delta, Greece

Savas Kazantzidis, Christos Astaras, Ioakim Vasiliadis, Eleni Makrygianni, Vassilis Ilias, Gavriil Spyroglou

Abstract


The Evros delta is one of the most important wetlands for wintering waterfowl in Greece and the most popular among waterfowl hunters. This study addresses hunting activity and harvest while also investigating the relationship between weather conditions and hunting activity to suggest ways of improving waterfowl management. We counted wintering waterfowl and hunter numbers, and conducted hunter bag surveys during December–February over four hunting seasons. We calculated a 10-day goose and duck Preferential Shooting Index (PSI), which is the ratio of observed number of shot birds to the number of birds expected to have been shot if the birds were shot in proportion to their availability. Common Teal, Mallard and Greater White-fronted Goose were the most abundant species both in the field and in hunter bags. The mean number of hunters/day was 99.9, with each one shooting on average 2.5 birds/day. The overall waterfowl harvested accounted for 1.3% of the total waterfowl population. For geese this proportion was six times higher (8.7%), while for ducks alone and protected species was 1.2% and 1.4% respectively. Geese were shot more often than expected (PSI 6.55), while ducks and protected species were shot according to their availability (PSI 0.86 and 1.02, respectively). Wind speed, precipitation and geese number in the field were the best predictors of overall harvest and number of hunters. To reduce goose overshooting and the probability of protected species being accidentally shot, we suggest habitat management actions for the geese feeding areas and hunters’ awareness raising.

Keywords


ducks; geese; wintering waterbirds; wetland management

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26496/bjz.2020.77

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