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Research strategy

The section’s research strategy is primarily based on a contract with the Nature Agency on ’Species, hunting and wildlife management’ in the period 2012-2017. Denmark has a central location on the migratory routes of birds in Europe and there is an increasing need for consultancy that balances protection of species, damage and recreational interests. This applies to ducks, geese and wading birds, and the intention is to determine correlations between population size and breeding conditions in mulching and winter sites.

Game birds

’Adaptive management’ is particularly in focus in relation to hunting. The concept involves flexible decision making and, when required, adjusting hunting seasons and regulations according to an agreed upon population size based on careful monitoring of the species. Many bird species, whose natural habitat is in farmland, have decreased dramatically over the past 20-30 years. For this reason, there is a great need to maintain and expand our knowledge on farmland birds, e.g. partridges, skylarks, linnets, winchats, lapwings, whitethroats and yellowhammers.

Land mammals

The challenges related to land mammals include population dynamics and use of habitat for hoofed game with special focus on red deer and roe deer and particular reference to game injuries, recreational activities and accidents related to traffic. A specific research area involves assessing the sustainability of the red deer hunt, regionally and nationally, based on information from hunters on gender and age distribution as well as the weight of the killed animals. In regards to population dynamics, habitat requirements and viability analyses of small and endangered populations, special attention is being paid to hares, door mice, bats and otters. We are expanding on and documenting simple methods particularly for recording the frequency of nocturnal mammals in open countryside. We are involving the public in this work through citizen science projects.

Hunting bag and wing surveys

The Danish hunting bag is a database with information on game killed in Denmark (Link). The statistics are based on annual inventory of game yield of virtually all hunted mammals and birds. The database contains information for most species since 1941. The wing surveys, which are based on wings from killed birds submitted by hunters, began with the woodcock back in 1970. From the early 1980s, the survey was expanded to include ducks and wading birds and later geese and gulls were also included. Since then, the wing surveys have been an important part of the Danish hunting bag statistics, in which the yield of most species of dabbling ducks and diving ducks in Denmark is calculated based on the number distribution of the submitted wings. The study provides detailed knowledge on the geographical and temporal presence and on the year’s breeding success.