Hunting with shotguns inevitably causes wounding of game that are hit by pellets but not retrieved by the hunter. We examined the effects of pellets on body condition in a total of 2,164 pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus) that were captured by cannon-nets, x-rayed, and banded with neck collars after the closure of the hunting season in Denmark. All geese were sexed, aged, weighed, and wing lengths measured. In the overall material, 23.8% and 11.6% of adults and first-winter birds, respectively, carried pellets outside the gizzard. We derived an index of the body condition of individual birds as the residuals of linear regression of log-transformed wing length and weight. Statistical analyses showed a highly significant relationship between body condition, sex, and year, whereas number of pellets was not significantly related to body condition. The results suggest that geese that have been hit by shotgun pellets but have survived the hunting season, so-called lightly crippled individuals, are not injured to an extent to have detectable chronic effects.
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Vol. 71 • No. 5