European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 59, Issue 6, pp 805–814 | Cite as

Mortality rates of wild boar Sus scrofa L. in central Europe

  • Oliver Keuling
  • Eric Baubet
  • Andreas Duscher
  • Cornelia Ebert
  • Claude Fischer
  • Andrea Monaco
  • Tomasz Podgórski
  • Céline Prevot
  • Katrin Ronnenberg
  • Gunter Sodeikat
  • Norman Stier
  • Henrik Thurfjell
Original Paper


In many parts of Europe, wild boar Sus scrofa population increase, and thus, high densities and dispersal into new areas are accompanied by economic problems. Due to many factors like insufficient hunting strategies as well as underestimation of population densities and reproduction rates, harvest rates seem to be insufficient. Thus, we calculated mortality rates of several wild boar populations from 1998 to 2009, to show the efficiency of hunting within several studies distributed over eight European states. For calculating mortality rates, the daily probability of survival of radio telemetrically observed wild boar was analysed according to Mayfield (Wilson Bull 73:255-261, 1961) and with survival analysis in R for three age classes (0, 1, ≥2 years) and both sexes. The mortality rates of wild boar per annum, especially piglets, were comparably low (about 0.5 for piglets and similar for total population). About three third of all observed animals survived at least until the next period of reproduction. Mortality rates differed between some study areas, the sexes and age classes. The sex ratio of the shot piglets equals the sex ratio of captured piglets; there seems to be no sex-biased hunting in this age class, but in an older age. Shooting was the main cause of death; only very few animals died by natural causes, e.g. diseases. The comparative analysis of all studies reflects a low mortality of wild boar in highly productive populations. Our results certified the findings of several studies that predation, natural mortality, and road mortality have only small impact on wild boar populations, whereas especially, nutrition or hunting are mainly decisive. Assuming net reproduction rates of more than 200 % according to literature data, our results indicate that harvest rates are not sufficient at our study sites. In all our studies, mortality rates and, thus, harvest rates are less than the assumed total net reproduction. Especially, the harvest rate of piglets seems to be insufficient. Thus, the population will increase further. High reproduction has to be counteracted by regulating mainly the reproductive animals. For regulating a population, combined and effective hunting methods have to be conducted to harvest at least the net reproduction. Thus, we recommend higher hunting rates of piglets (80 % of the offspring should be harvested) and of adult females. Intensified hunting of piglets by drive hunts and at an early age as well as intensified single hunt on adult females might help regulating wild boar populations.


Sus scrofa Mortality rates Hunting efficiency Sex ratio Wildlife management Human dimension 



We would like to thank all companies supporting the several studies. We would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the editor for the help on an earlier draft of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10344_2013_733_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (772 kb)

Location of the study areas in Europe (JPEG 771 kb)

10344_2013_733_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (24 kb)
ESM 2 Output of the linear regression (PDF 24.2 kb)
10344_2013_733_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (32 kb)
ESM 3 Output of the non-parametric survival analysis with censoring (PDF 31.5 kb)
10344_2013_733_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (98 kb)
ESM 4 Trends of hunting bag statistics from different European countries (a few examples) and Japan (PDF 97.9 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Keuling
    • 1
  • Eric Baubet
    • 2
  • Andreas Duscher
    • 3
  • Cornelia Ebert
    • 4
  • Claude Fischer
    • 5
  • Andrea Monaco
    • 6
  • Tomasz Podgórski
    • 7
  • Céline Prevot
    • 8
  • Katrin Ronnenberg
    • 1
  • Gunter Sodeikat
    • 1
  • Norman Stier
    • 9
  • Henrik Thurfjell
    • 10
  1. 1.Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife ResearchUniversity of Veterinary Medicine HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.CNERA Cervidés-SangliersOffice National de la Chasse et de la Faune SauvageParisFrance
  3. 3.Research Institute of Wildlife EcologyUniversity of Veterinary Medicine ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Research Institute for Forest Ecology and ForestryTrippstadtGermany
  5. 5.hepia, Filière Gestion de la NatureJussySwitzerland
  6. 6.National Wildlife InstituteOzzano dell’EmiliaItaly
  7. 7.Mammal Research InstitutePolish Academy of SciencesBiałowieżaPoland
  8. 8.Laboratoire Faune sauvage et Cynégétique, Département de l’étude du milieu naturel et agricoleService Public de WallonieGemblouxBelgium
  9. 9.Institute of Forest Botany and Forest ZoologyDresden University of TechnologyTharandtGermany
  10. 10.Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Environmental StudiesSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUmeåSweden

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