The successful management of large herbivores requires the monitoring of a set of indicators of ecological change (IEC) describing animal performance, herbivore impact on habitat and relative animal abundance. Roaring counts during the rut have often been used to assess the abundance of red deer Cervus elaphus populations, but a formal evaluation of this method is still lacking. In this paper, we examined the usefulness of the number of red deer recorded during roaring counts for managing red deer populations. Using standardised spotlight counts applied for the monitoring of red deer at La Petite Pierre, France, as a reference method, we found that roaring counts did not correlate with spotlight counts. Moreover, we did not find any evidence that roaring counts decreased with increasing number of male and female red deer harvested in the reserve during the previous hunting season. We thus conclude that managers should not rely on roaring counts for managing red deer populations.
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Vol. 19 • No. 1