The 2012/13 waterfowl hunting season is the second of four years in which hunters are cooperating in an experiment in which harvest rates vary across years. By allowing harvest to vary across years, biologists will monitor how breeding and survival will respond, thus testing what effect harvest has on population dynamics. The years 2011/12 and 2013/14 are years in which treatment levels will attempt to obtain harvest rates from 0 to 10%. The years 2012/13 and 2014/15 are years in which treatment levels will attempt to obtain harvest rates from 20 to 30%. Harvest rates between 10 and 20% were obtained in previous years. Hunters are contributing to this study by adhering to treatment levels, but most importantly, by reporting bands. Biologist are marking and reencountering wood ducks year round. However, we base the estimate of harvest rate by using the number of individual wood ducks encountered in banding efforts from July through October divided into the number of these wood ducks shot and reported by hunters. Therefore, it is especially important for hunters to report bands so that we can directly assess the treatment level effects.
So far in the 2012/13 hunting season (December 28, 2012), 6% of the wood ducks encountered from July through October 2012 have been shot and reported. This is extremely low for the treatment prescribed for this year (20 to 30%), and is actually about the same as the 2011/12 season when the prescribed treatment was 0 to 10%. Therefore, we ask you to make a concerted effort to hunt wood ducks more intensely the remainder of this season. We sincerely thank you for your interest and especially for taking the effort to report bands. We do hear stories of people not reporting bands. Please share this note with people whom you know who do not report bands and encourage them to report their wood duck bands.
We greatly appreciate your participation in this project and always encourage people and families to come help out and learn! This is a very unique study which directly allows hunters to participate in a scientific study to learn about how hunting impacts population dynamics. This project cannot be carried out without the help from hunters and the reporting of bands.
The Fallon Wood Duck Project
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