In Norway, Sweden, and Finland most beavers (Castor spp.) harvested are shot with center-fire rifles. Shooting entails problems not encountered in trapping including pelt damage from bullet holes (body shots are common) and escape of wounded animals. It was predicted that beavers shot in the body with splinter projectiles designed to fragment after impact would experience fewer exit holes (i.e., less pelt damage) and less wounding, but more meat loss, than those shot with conventional controlled expansion projectiles. Twenty-two hunters shot 163 beavers during normal hunting. As predicted, exit frequency was lower for splinter (22%) than controlled expansion projectiles (95%) but neither wounding frequency nor meat damage varied significantly. The combined wounding frequency for both projectile types was 4.3%. Ninety-eight percent of the body-shot animals retrieved (n = 111) appeared to die instantly. Beaver hunting with center-fire rifles was considered humane. (WILDLIFE SOCIETY BULLETIN 34(1):127–130; 2006)
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