What is Wildlife Management?
Wildlife management is often described as the manipulation of either one or more populations of specific wildlife, their habitat, or both. This is done to achieve one or more goals. Nature has its checks and balances, wildlife management is truly the science and study behind it.
How do we manage wildlife?
Hypothesis for white tail deer:
The answer to that question truly depends on which species of wildlife you are trying to manage, and what for. If a wildlife biologist was wishing to decrease the number of deer in Hardin County, just as an example, then he/she may strongly consider implementing a higher distribution of doe tags to be sold in that county. Doing just that would successfully reduce the breeding population of does in Hardin County, but the efforts would reach beyond just that. The following spring, with less does throughout the region, the nativity rate will be exponentially lower. A do can carry and birth a fawn during her first spring. Many does can produce two or three fawns each spring. If the hunters in the county harvested 100 more does, it could result in 100-200 less offspring in the area in just that year. By the end of that first year, research may suggest that the population of White Tail deer had successfully been reduced by 300 or more deer.
Hypothesis for Ring-necked Pheasant:
Let's say that now a wildlife biologist would love to increase the amount of pheasants that they see while out doing research in early fall of next year. They really knows their stuff when it comes to this kind of work, so they understand that one male pheasant can breed a dozen or more hens each spring. The ratio of rooster to hen pheasants is extremely unbalanced, the researcher seems to count five or six roosters for every one hen spotted. The researcher also knows that a male pheasant will out-compete the females for food by showing dominance during the harsh winter months. This is a bad sign for the upcoming winter survival. What should the researcher do? At this time, the researcher should really advocate and promote hunters to get out and decrease the male population of pheasants. This will allow the females to have more claim to food, which will increase their survival. At the same time, the researcher could promote the trapping and harvesting of predator species such as fox and coyote, but should really focus on species that will effect the upcoming nesting season. By harvesting overpopulated fox, skunks and raccoons, and male pheasants, the biologist highly increases the odds of a greater winter survival of female birds and their nesting successes to come. See how many factors can play into successful wildlife management?
Get the Gist?
Many factors play into successful wildlife management, but each scenario is different. We at Hardin County Conservation hop that these two very different scenarios helped you to learn. For any questions, please feel free to visit our Calkins Nature Area nature center, cultural museum and live wildlife display. Our staff would love to help.