Thoughts about hunting
PHOTO DMITRY SHANITSYNA
Animals, including hunting, is a special, unique component of nature.
They are mobile, lead a mostly secretive way of life, have a population structure of species.
Their study requires specific methods that are much more complex than in forestry or agriculture.
Hunting animals are a rapidly reproducible resource, having a peculiar dynamics, without tracking which (without monitoring) it is impossible to manage the economy and use this resource wisely.
The endless reformation of hunting management as a branch (and this is an independent and specific branch) led to a significant reduction in managerial staff; in comparison with the Glavokhota system of the RSFSR – dozens of times.
The budget financing of the industry was also reduced. Of course, the hunting farm should have an independent government body.
Animals breed every year and with a large supply, that is, many more individuals are born than nature needs to “repair” the livestock, to develop empty ecological niches and territories.
“Unnecessary” individuals simply perish, not finding for themselves living space or conditions.
They constitute the resources of hunting and the functioning of hunting. And this is the main argument in disputes with illiterate anti-hunters and green of various stripes.
Resources hunting animals need to use very carefully. Many examples can be cited where a farm, without monitoring, devastated hunting grounds, destroyed entire populations of animals, or undermined their reproductive abilities, as happened with the saiga antelope.
PHOTO SVETLANA BURKOVSKAYA
Monitoring of hunting resources is necessary, therefore, at one time, Glavokhota RSFSR considered the creation of the State Service for Accounting of Hunting Resources as an information basis for state monitoring and resource management at the federal level to be important.
In the development of this topic in the Central Research Laboratory of the Glavokhota and hunting expedition, 35 specialists were employed. Almost all methods of registering game animals were tested, tested in field conditions, and the most reasonable and promising were selected.
I have compiled a prospective program of accounting work in the RSFSR, which indicated methods applicable in different regions of the country, the frequency of their implementation, seasons, etc.
The main methods were highlighted, the use of which was envisaged annually. Glavokhota did not want to implement the implementation of this program, the main board stopped only on the introduction of winter route accounting (ZMU) of hunting animals.
This method is really promising: theoretically well-grounded, easy-to-use in practice, understandable in execution even for unskilled hunters.
But for game managers who considered themselves to be qualified, the ZMU method often caused criticism and rejection, mainly due to a lack of understanding of the theoretical essence of the method.
For example, one of these "specialists" A.E. Bersenyev, not understanding the essence of ZMU, not yet being the head of the hunting department, dreamed of developing “alternative” accounting methods, although they were developed a long time ago and some of them were rejected for practical use. He was more attracted to accounting methods at trial sites.
He was told that any methods of counting on trial plots have a significant negative quality: the great difficulty of laying representative sites, when the average population density of animals on the plots should be close to the population density in the territory of reference in nature.
Otherwise, you can get multiple errors in the accounting results. This deficiency is deprived of route accounting methods, since they cover large areas, even ten-kilometer ZMU routes.
PHOTO OLIVER SCHWENDENER / UNSPLASH
The route aerial accounting of large mammals with their visual detection can be a truly alternative method of ZMU accounting. Methodical documents for this method have long been developed and approved.
But now renting an air transport is too expensive for poor hunting organizations. And for accounting with the help of drones, such UAVs do not yet exist that could fully meet the requirements of hunting animals accounting methods.
However, UAVs that meet these requirements are too expensive and inaccessible, therefore, the introduction of such aerial accounting methods without the presence of UAVs, without data processing programs is premature.
Recently, the hunting department convened a meeting on the approval of accounting guidelines drawn up by the FGBU “Tsentrohotkontrol”, including “alternative” methods.
I, of course, was not invited to this meeting. This is typical of Russia: the party farm is going to discuss scientific problems without scientists.
I gave opinions on the “alternative” methods developed at Tsentrokhotkontrol, but apparently they did not read them in the Department of Hunting. In Tsentrokhotkontrol read and made a number of amendments to their projects.
They did a great job composing these projects at the disposal of the parent organization, but, in my opinion, the work was almost useless. This refers to the aforementioned methods of aerial accounting using UAVs.
Another method – accounting at fertilizer sites – for some reason was limited only to accounting boar. Such types of ungulates, such as the noble, spotted deer, fallow deer, and roe deer, were not mentioned at all, although it is more logical to take them into account at the sites, and accounting for the boar is obvious nonsense.
This animal does not always go to the grounds, the boars may visit several sites during the night, which leads to a rediscount. The territory from which the animals go to the sites is unknown, therefore extrapolation of the counts is excluded.
The method requires multi-day observations and high qualifications of observers, simultaneous observations on all sites in the farm. It is more labor-intensive than ZMU, and is suitable only for registering reindeer and only in highly organized farms, where there are these sites and a large staff of qualified rangers.
Therefore, to talk about the use of this method in monitoring in large areas is meaningless.
Another “alternative” method is the run method. He is criticized in many publications. It requires the simultaneous participation of a large group of well-trained beaters. Very often the chain of beaters is broken, a part of the animals breaks through this chain and remains in the pen.
It is not always clear whether the animals came to the girder site during the pen or not. Compared to the PMU, there are difficulties in the organization here, and the problem of the representativeness of the sites does not allow us to recommend this method for monitoring.
The average long-term length of the diurnal variation of moose in the second half of winter in the European part of Russia:
1 – less than 2.5 km; 2 – 2.5–2.7 km;
3 – 2.8–3.1 km;
4 – 3.2–3.7 km;
5 – more than 3.7 km.
Part of the complaints against the ZMU methodology is related to the fact that there are no grounds for applying the average long-term conversion factors. I agree. Of course, it is better to do the tracking of the daily inheritance of beasts. Time consuming Yes.
But there are ways to reduce this complexity. For example, on the basis of previous observations, determine the dependence of the length of the diurnal variation on the depth of snow cover and then apply the “predicted” coefficients.
They are compiled for the majority of subjects of European Russia and are available in the literature. There is a way to determine the length of the daily leg along the average width of the daily portion of the beast and the average number of intersections of tracks on two perpendicular routes through this segment.
This is also in the literature. Of course, keeping animals in mind is laborious, but you can’t easily catch a fish from a pond.
In any case, ZMU, even with the average multi-year coefficients, gives much smaller errors than any of the mentioned “alternative” methods, where errors can be multiple.
Who should do the accounting – the state or the hunting users?
In Soviet times, everything was clear: state bodies at the federal and regional levels led the management and organization of accounting work, summarizing the results of monitoring.
They also entered into an agreement with hunting users on the lease of hunting grounds and the use of state (nationwide!) Hunting resources, and in this agreement it was necessarily agreed to conduct the counting of animals by hunting users.
A powerful blow to the monitoring was the transfer of all the functions of hunting management to the subjects of the Federation, including monitoring, which could not be done in any case. Now, federal government agencies do not have the ability to control the monitoring, but only deal with scandalous cases.
Subjects of the Federation on their territory do whatever they want, submit for generalization dubious credentials, usually inflated to obtain more animal licenses; There are no qualified, objective and independent personnel to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the field plan. All this may well lead to the destruction of animal populations.
The family of direct regressions of the diurnal stroke length (L, km) to the depth of snow cover
(H, cm). The numbers indicate the region, the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (data at the end of the 80s of the XX century):
1 – Arkhangelskaya, 2 – Vologda,
3 – Karelian ASSR, 4 – Leningrad,
5 – Novgorodskaya, 6 – Pskovskaya,
7 – Vladimirskaya, 8 – Ivanovskaya,
9 – Tverskaya, 10 – Kostroma,
11 – Moscow, 12 – Tula,
13 – Yaroslavskaya, 14 – Nizhny Novgorod,
15 – Mordovian ASSR, 16 – Chuvash ASSR, 17 – Tambov, 18 – Kuibyshev,
19 – Bashkir ASSR, 20 – Orenburg,
21 – Perm, 22 – Udmurt Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
State control of hunting resources monitoring at the federal level should be mandatory: the federal hunting authority is responsible for the state of hunting resources throughout the Federation and at the same time cannot control the accounting work.
This is not a “nightmare business”, as they think in the Duma, but a normal state approach. After all, business doesn’t care what happens to animals (there will be no animals, and it’s not necessary).
At the meeting, representatives of Rosokhorybolovsoyuz stated that the state should conduct animal registrations, to which my colleague remarked: "Let them then give all the lands to the state." This is also extreme.
I have always supported community hunting organizations. Without them there is no hunting. But I believe that it is necessary to withdraw land from those hunting users who do not comply with the terms of the agreement on the lease of resources in terms of keeping animals.
On the other hand, for the majority of hunting users accounting work is burdensome, time consuming and not at all necessary. This opinion is based on a complete misunderstanding of the necessity and usefulness of the counts.
And this is one of the most important or even the most important area of hunting activity.
If you conduct a specific hunting farm competently and intelligently, you must first determine the capacity of their hunting grounds for each type of animal.
This is necessary in order to strive to bring the number of animals closer to the capacity of land, but at the same time not to give numbers to exceed this capacity, in order to avoid a sharp drop in numbers.
It is absolutely impossible to determine the capacity of land using the method of “classical rating”, to determine the “optimal number” based on subjective assessments of the quality of land. It has been proven that the capacity of land for plant-eating animals cannot be determined from stocks of vegetable feed: they are used in different landscape conditions from 5 to 100%.
Best of all, the capacity of the land shows the number of animals themselves, and for this you need to keep regular records of the number. This is the only correct approach in determining the capacity of land.
Photo by Anton Zhuravkov
Another aspect of the same problem: in each population of animals, population dynamics occur in their own way, and in neighboring micropopulations, the rhythm of the dynamics, its phases do not coincide; numbers.
On the rise of numbers and at a level close to the capacity of the land, it is possible to allow the full fishing load, increasing it when reaching the capacity, in order to maintain this level of numbers indefinitely for a long time.
If the number "has passed" the capacity, it will go down. Then you need to drastically reduce the fishing load or eliminate it altogether so that the numbers recover faster.
If you follow this approach to managing, it will lead to maximum economic efficiency of farms. To do this, it is necessary to carry out the most accurate surveys of animals, extrapolate the data of selective counts on the correct, landscape territorial basis.
It has been proven that the use of the phytocenological classification of hunting grounds (types of land) in animal accounts can lead to multiple errors imperceptible to accountants. In addition, it is possible to isolate micropopulations and populations of higher rank only on the basis of the landscape classification of land.
Over the past 50 years there have been a lot of publications about this, and ignoring the landscape approach to the classification of land and animal records means that the farm is maintained at the level of the 19th century game management.
July 18, 2019 at 06:04
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