European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 77–80 | Cite as

Incidence of embedded shotgun pellets and inferred hunting kill amongst Russian/Baltic barnacle geese Branta leucopsis

  • Thomas Eske HolmEmail author
  • Jesper Madsen
Original Paper


X-rays of wild caught barnacle geese from the Russian/Baltic population were taken in Denmark in the springs of 2009 and 2011 to determine the incidence of embedded shotgun pellets and to estimate the annual hunting kill. On average, 13 % of adult geese (n = 212) and 6 % of first year geese (n = 35) examined contained pellets in their tissue. Assuming that these birds represented a random sample, extrapolation to the entire population of c. 770,000 individuals indicates that 96,000 barnacle geese carry embedded pellets. Based on the assumption that the ratio between the number of birds with embedded shot and the total number of birds harvested per season is similar to that found in pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus (recorded as 3.6:1 during 1990–1996 and 1.7:1 during 2009–2011), the annual kill of barnacle geese was estimated at 26,300–58,300 birds. The Russian/Baltic barnacle geese are protected from hunting on their winter quarters (The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark), but are quarry in Russia and are shot under license to protect agricultural crops in Estonia, Germany, Sweden and Denmark (amounting to a total of c. 1,800–3,000 geese shots per year). Barnacle geese are known to be shot illegally (accidentally and deliberately) along the migration route, but in the absence of Russian bag statistics, the contribution of illegal hunting to the overall harvest cannot be substantiated. Although the population is currently increasing at an annual rate of 8 %, the indirectly estimated hunting pressure (3–7 %) is not insubstantial and should be taken into account in future population management models.


Crippling Pink-footed geese Hunting bag Infliction rate Harvest rate X-ray 



The Danish Nature Agency is thanked for granting access to catch geese at Vest Stadil Fjord. Peter Glazov, Konstantin Litvin, Aivar Leito, Karel Roht, Kjell Larsson and the Gotland County Administrative Board are thanked for providing unpublished information on shooting and Kees Koffijberg for providing unpublished productivity data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityRoendeDenmark

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