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1 December 2004 Vulnerability of mallards to hunting with a spinning-wing decoy in Manitoba
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Abstract
We examined the vulnerability of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) to hunting with a spinning-wing decoy (SWD) during the 2001 and 2002 autumn hunting seasons in Manitoba, Canada. Between 8 September and 11 November 2001, we conducted 72 experimental marsh hunts, and between 8 September and 30 October 2002, we conducted 27 experimental marsh and 55 experimental field hunts. Each hunt consisted of a series of equal and alternating 15-minute experimental (SWD on) and control (SWD off) periods, separated by a 3-minute buffer. Duration of total hunts ranged from 1.0–3.0 hours, with an average of 1.4 ± 0.5 hours. Experimental marsh hunts in 2001 and 2002 indicated that mallards were 1.9 times more likely to fly within gun range (P < 0.001), the mean number killed/hour/hunter was 5.0 times greater (P < 0.001), and the crippling rate was 1.7 times lower when the SWD was on than off (P = 0.02). Additionally, body condition index (size-adjusted body mass) of harvested mallards was greater when the SWD was on than off (P = 0.03). Experimental field hunts in 2002 indicated that mallards were 6.4 times more likely to fly within gun range (P < 0.001), the mean number killed/hour/hunter was 33 times greater (P < 0.001), and, although similar in the early season (before 5 October), crippling rate was 3.7 times lower when the SWD was on than off during the late season (P = 0.047). A SWD activity by age interaction (P = 0.05) indicated that when the SWD was on, harvested adult mallards had a greater body condition index than juveniles but were similar when the SWD was off. Use of a SWD increased mallard flock response, provided more shooting opportunity to hunters, increased kill rate, reduced crippling rates, and, in marsh hunts, resulted in mallards harvested with a greater body condition index. Lastly, quantifying SWD use throughout Canada and the United States will be necessary to estimate its impact on overall harvest.
Jason H. Caswell and F. Dale Caswell "Vulnerability of mallards to hunting with a spinning-wing decoy in Manitoba," Wildlife Society Bulletin 32(4), (1 December 2004). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2004)032[1297:VOMTHW]2.0.CO;2
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