About Management Hunt
Herds of animals have to be managed. This phrase is often heard in discussions about the conservation value of hunting. However, not everybody realises what exactly this means. Herd management is not only about keeping the numbers of the animals within the required threshold, so that they don’t overuse available food sources, don’t destroy their habitat, and are not overly vulnerable to diseases due to high densities. It is also about maintaining proper population structure. Most hunters prefer to harvest mature, male animals. If the herds aren’t properly managed, overharvesting of big males may create problems: even though the number of animals on a certain territory is sufficient, or even excessive, a gender/age disbalance is never a good thing. Wildlife managers on large tracts of public land prevent this by monitoring populations and, if necessary, reducing the numbers of licenses and tags for mature males and/or issuing more doe or antlerless tags. But intensive hunting preserves or game farms sometimes may have to use more radical measures. In practice, the choices are limited to either capturing or selling excess animals, or culling them. This cull can be performed by an employee or a hired specialist, at the expense of the preserve or game farm. Some outfitters, however, discovered that they can do the Tom Sawyer fence-painting trick and offer such hunts to hunters at a price. This is what is known as a management hunt. The challenge of the management hunt is that the hunter must not shoot the animals of the wrong sex, age, or size. To prevent accidental (or not so accidental) harvest of the kind of animals that the preserve or game farm management wants to keep, a client on a management hunt is usually accompanied by a guide. Read more...
A variety of management hunts are hunts for male animals that are not up to the standards of the species - e.g. have small or deformed antlers. They are believed to be poorly suitable for breeding, and may have to be removed to ensure better genetics of the next generations. Red deer, for example, often have a mutation that produces straight, non-branched antlers. Stags with such antlers often maim or kill the traditionally antlered stags when clashing for dominance, and gamekeepers of the estate do their best to locate and harvest such “killers”. An opportunity to take part in this chase is a rare event that a true hunter should treasure above simply getting a pair of conventional antlers. A paying client of a management hunt may or may not get the meat of the harvested animal, and may or may not decide to keep the “substandard” or broken-tipped antlers or horns of the “managed” bucks or bulls. But in any case, if you’re after an experience, and not the trophy, you shouldn’t discard management hunts, which often present an affordable opportunity to hunt for exotic or highly desirable species. Hide details
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