Skip to main content

Timing of the hunting season as a tool to redistribute harvest of migratory deer across the landscape

Abstract

Harvesting by humans is the primary mechanism in regulation of many ungulate populations. Many harvested ungulate populations are migratory and fall migration often overlaps with hunting season. A main challenge in such systems is that ungulates often inflict damage on farmland and forest in the summer ranges, but that they migrate from these areas before they can be harvested, resulting in uneven distribution of damage and revenue from hunting across landowners. While an increase in annual quotas on summer ranges cannot compensate for this problem, advancement in hunting season potentially could. In Norway, hunting season of red deer Cervus elaphus was advanced from the 10th to 1st of September with the aim of increasing the harvest in inland summer ranges. We found that the peak in harvest occurred during the first 10 days of hunting both before and after advancement of hunting season, implying that hunters responded to the advanced season. The harvest increased in inland local management units by 17 %, closely matching the effect size expected from known migration patterns. Along the coast, harvest decreased by 8 % in the winter ranges along the coast, reinforcing the redistribution of harvest offtake along the migration gradient. Although hunting season of large ungulates is constrained by the female breeding cycle, especially the time period of dependent offspring, we suggest that adjustment of hunting season is an underused tool in redistribution of harvest of migratory deer populations.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  • Ahlen I (1975) Winter habitats of moose and deer in relation to land use in Scandinavia Swedish. Wildlife Res 9:45–192

    Google Scholar 

  • Albon SD, Langvatn R (1992) Plant phenology and the benefits of migration in a temperate ungulate. Oikos 65:502–513

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Andersen O, Kaltenborn B, Vittersø J, Willebrand T (2014a) Preferred harvest principles and—regulations amongst willow ptarmigan hunters in Norway Wildlife. Biology 20:285–290

    Google Scholar 

  • Andersen O, Wam H, Mysterud A, Kaltenborn B (2014b) Applying typology analysis to management issues: deer harvest and declining hunter numbers. J Wildlife Manag 78:1282–1292

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Andres D, Clutton-Brock T, Kruuk LB, Pemberton J, Stopher K, Ruckstuhl K (2013) Sex differences in the consequences of maternal loss in a long-lived mammal, the red deer (Cervus elaphus). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 67:1249–1258. doi:10.1007/s00265-013-1552-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Apollonio M, Putman R, Grignolio S, Bartos L (2011) Hunting season in relation to biological breeding season and the implications for the control or regulation of ungulate populations. In: Putman R, Appolonio M, Andersen R (eds) Ungulate managment in Europe—problems and practices. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 80–105

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Bischof R, Loe LE, Meisingset EL, Zimmermann B, Van Moorter B, Mysterud A (2012) A migratory northern ungulate in the pursuit of spring: jumping or surfing the green wave? Am Naturalist 180:407–424. doi:10.1086/667590

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blomberg EJ (2015) The influence of harvest timing on greater sage-grouse survival: a cautionary perspective. J Wildlife Manag 79:695–703

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bolker B, Skaug H, Fournier.D., Nielsen A (2012) glmmADMB: generalized linear mixed models using AD Model Builder, 0.7.2.12 edn

  • Brown TL, Decker DJ, Riley SJ, Enck JW, Lauber TB, Curtis PD, Mattfeld GF (2000) The future of hunting as a mechanism to control white-tailed deer populations. Wildlife Soc Bull 28:797–807

    Google Scholar 

  • Calvert AM, Gauthier G (2005) Effects of exceptional conservation measures on survival and seasonal hunting mortality in greater snow geese. J Appl Ecol 42:442–452. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2005.01042.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Calvert AM, Gauthier G, Reed A (2005) Spatiotemporal heterogeneity of greater snow goose harvest and implications for hunting regulations. J Wildlife Manag 69:561–573. doi:10.2193/0022-541x(2005)069[0561:shogsg]2.0.co;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clutton-Brock TH, Coulson TN, Milner-Gulland EJ, Thomson D, Armstrong HM (2002) Sex differences in emigration and mortality affects optimal management of deer populations. Nature 415:633–637

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cote SD, Rooney TP, Tremblay JP, Dussault C, Waller DM (2004) Ecological impacts of deer overabundance annual review of ecology. Evol Syst 35:113–147

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cromsigt JPGM et al (2013) Hunting for fear: innovating management of human–wildlife conflicts. J Appl Ecol 50:544–549. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12076

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Festa-Bianchet M (1988) Seasonal range selection in bighorn sheep: conflicts between forage quality, forage quantity, and predator avoidance. Oecologia 75:580–586

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Festa-Bianchet M, Jorgenson JT, Wishart WD (1994) Early weaning in bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis affects growth of males but not of females. Behav Ecol 5:21–27. doi:10.1093/beheco/5.1.21

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fryxell JM, Packer C, McCann KS, Solberg EJ, Sæther BE (2010) Resource management cycles and the sustainability of harvested wildlife populations. Science 328:903–906

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Garrott RA, White GC, Bartmann RM, Carpenter LH, Alldredge AW (1987) Movements of female mule deer in northwest Colorado. J Wildlife Manag 51:634–643

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gill RMA (1992) A review of damage by mammals in north temperate forests: 1. Deer Forestry 65:145–169

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Godvik IMR, Loe LE, Vik JO, Veiberg V, Langvatn R, Mysterud A (2009) Temporal scales, trade-offs, and functional responses in red deer habitat selection. Ecology 90:699–710. doi:10.1890/08-0576.1

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Harris G, Thirgood S, Hopcraft JGC, Cromsigt JPGM, Berger J (2009) Global decline in aggregated migrations of large terrestrial mammals. Endanger Species Res 7:55–76. doi:10.3354/esr00173

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hebblewhite M, Merrill E, McDermid G (2008) A multi-scale test of the forage maturation hypothesis in a partially migratory ungulate population. Ecol Monogr 78:141–166. doi:10.1890/06-1708.1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heusmann HW, McDonald JE (2002) Distribution of wood duck harvest in the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways in relation to hunting season length. Wildlife Soc Bull 30:666–674

    Google Scholar 

  • Jarnemo A (2008) Seasonal migration of male red deer (Cervus elaphus) in southern Sweden and consequences for management. Eur J Wildlife Res 54:327–333. doi:10.1007/s10344-007-0154-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kokko H (2001) Optimal and suboptimal use of compensatory responses to harvesting: timing of hunting as an example. Wildlife Biol 7:141–150

    Google Scholar 

  • Kokko H, Lindström J (1998) Seasonal density dependence, timing of mortality, and sustainable harvesting. Ecol Model 110:293–304

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lande US, Loe LE, Skjaerli OJ, Meisingset EL, Mysterud A (2014) The effect of agricultural land use practice on habitat selection of red deer. Eur J Wildlife Res 60:69–76. doi:10.1007/s10344-013-0751-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Langvatn R, Loison A (1999) Consequences of harvest on age structure, sex ratio and population dynamics of red deer in central. Norway Wildlife Biol 5:213–223

    Google Scholar 

  • Loe LE et al (2005) Climate predictability and breeding phenology in red deer: timing and synchrony of rutting and calving in Norway and France. J Anim Ecol 74:579–588. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2005.00987.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meisingset E (2015) Space use of red deer and its implications for management Oslo

  • Milner JM, Bonenfant C, Mysterud A, Gaillard JM, Csanyi S, Stenseth NC (2006) Temporal and spatial development of red deer harvesting in Europe: biological and cultural factors. Journal of Applied Ecology 43:721–734

  • Mysterud A (2013) Ungulate migration, plant phenology, and large carnivores: the times they are a-changin'. Ecology 94:1257–1261

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Mysterud A, Loe LE, Zimmermann B, Bischof R, Veiberg V, Meisingset E (2011) Partial migration in expanding red deer populations at northern latitudes—a role for density dependence? Oikos 120:1817–1825. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2010.19439.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nelson ME (1995) Winter range arrival and departure of white-tailed deer in northeastern Minnesota Canadian. J Zool 73:1069–1076

    Google Scholar 

  • Putman RJ, Apollonio M, Andersen R (2011) Ungulate management in Europe—problems and practices. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • R Core Team (2015) R: a language and environment for statistical computing, 322nd edn. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna

    Google Scholar 

  • Rivrud IM, Meisingset EL, Loe LE, Mysterud A (2014) Interaction effects between weather and space use on harvesting effort and patterns in red deer. Ecol Evol 4:4786–4797. doi:10.1002/ece3.1318

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Rivrud IM, Bischof R, Meisingset E, Zimmermann B, Loe LE, Mysterud A (2016) Leave before it’s too late: Anthropogenic and environmental triggers of autumn migration 1 in a hunted ungulate population Ecology Online first

  • Sæther BE, Engen S, Solberg EJ (2001) Optimal harvest of age-structured populations of moose Alces alces in a fluctuating environment. Wildlife Biol 7:171–179

    Google Scholar 

  • Sinclair ARE, Fryxell JM, Caughley G (2006) Wildlife ecology, conservation, and management, 2nd edn. Blackwell, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Singh NJ, Milner-Gulland EJ (2011) Conserving a moving target: planning protection for a migratory species as its distribution changes. J Appl Ecol 48:35–46. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01905.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Skonhoft A, Olaussen JO (2005) Managing a migratory species that is both a value and a pest. Land Econ 81:34–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Statistics Norway (2015) Official hunting statistics of Norway. Statistics Norway, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  • Sunde P, Asferg T (2014) How does harvest size vary with hunting season length? Wildlife Biol 20:176–184. doi:10.2981/wlb.00021

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Veiberg V, Solheim H (2000) Råte etter hjortegnag på gran i Sunnfjord (in Norwegian) vol 18/00. Rapport fra skogforskningen 18/00 pp 1–16

  • Veiberg V, Rolandsen CM, Heim M, Solberg EJ (2016) Omfang av morlause kalvar etter jakt på elg og hjort (In Norwegian with English summary). NINA Report 1197. ISBN: 978-82-426-2826-8 vol 1197

Download references

Acknowledgments

We greatly acknowledge the support of Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo, Norway, that funded and hosted our research project ("Climate effects on harvested large mammal populations") during the academic year of 2015/16. This work is also part of the DeerUnit-project (no. 230275/E50) funded by the Research Council of Norway (program Miljø-2015) and the Norwegian Environment Agency. We thank Christer Moe Rolandsen in The National Deer Register (www.hjorteviltregisteret.no) for providing access to, and explaining, the red deer harvesting data and Øystein Brekkum for helping with digitizing hunting area units. We are grateful to Marco Festa-Bianchet and one anonymous reviewer for comments improving an earlier version of this paper.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Leif Egil Loe.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Loe, L.E., Rivrud, I.M., Meisingset, E.L. et al. Timing of the hunting season as a tool to redistribute harvest of migratory deer across the landscape. Eur J Wildl Res 62, 315–323 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-016-1004-2

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-016-1004-2

Keywords

  • Ungulates
  • Migration
  • Resources
  • Harvesting patterns
  • Large herbivores
  • Management