It can be very difficult and expensive to actually determine how many animals live in an area, how old they are, how many males and females there are and how healthy the population is.
Sometimes, wildlife managers will use aerial surveys where they actually fly over areas and do head counts of the animals. They can then estimate how many animals might exist in a larger area with a similar habitat.
Wildlife managers also use ground surveys. Animals are tagged and followed for very specific studies that will help managers to learn about the animals.
Most of the information comes from other people in the field. We can all help wildlife managers by reporting what we see in the field. In fact, as you will learn, hunters play a very important role in this part of management.
What Can Hunters Do To Help?
Hunters have a very large part to play in the science of wildlife management. Your involvement will take many forms including helping to harvest the surplus.
But even more than that, what you see in the field and the information you provide to wildlife managers is very important.
As a hunter you can participate in game management and help to sustain populations by:
Responding to questionnaires
Checking in at hunter check stations
Participating in surveys
Providing samples from animals you harvest
submitting hunting licence returns
reporting marked or collared animals
Samples from your animal may include such things as teeth, lower jaw bones, wings or tail feathers. These parts are often used to accurately age the animal, determine its sex and its health before you were successful. Each year, the Newfoundland and Labrador Hunting and Trapping Guide tells us what samples our wildlife managers are looking for.
When this information is compiled with the results from aerial surveys, game harvest statistics and reproduction estimates, wildlife managers can develop an accurate picture of the health of a wildlife population and can then set hunting seasons.
REMEMBER: You are a hunter and that means you have a role to play in wildlife management. It is your responsibility to accept this role.