Sustainable monitoring of roe deer in public hunting areas in the Spanish Pyrenees

J. Herrero, R. T. Torres, C. Prada, A. García-Serrano, A. Giménez‐Anaya, O. Fernández


Aim of study: Monitoring trends in animal populations is essential for the development of appropriate wildlife management strategies.

Area of study: The area is situated in the southern Pyrenees (Aragon), Spain.

Material and methods: To measure the abundance, population trends, sex ratio, and mortality of roe deer populations, we analyzed data from i) driven hunts for wild boar (hunting seasons 1995/96 – 2009/10, n = 1,417, ii) itineraries, which were used to calculate the KAI and density using DS (2003 – 2010, n = 310 itineraries), iii) roe deer carcass recoveries (2006 – 2010, n = 100), and iv) data from the deer hunting quota fulfillment (2006 – 2010, n = 325 hunted animals.

Main results: Based on DS, in 2010, the average density of roe deer populations was 2.3 km-2 (CV 17%). Based on the KAI and the battues, the estimated average annual rate of increase was 5.8% and 4.3%, respectively. Based on the KAI and the carcass recoveries, the estimates of the population sex ratio were 0.75 (n = 641) and 0.9 (n = 100) males per female, respectively. Carcass recoveries indicated that mortality was highest in late winter and early spring. The average body masses and sizes of males and females were within the ranges reported for other Iberian and European populations.

Research highlights: Monitoring should be continued in the Aragon population of roe deer, although larger sample sizes are required to increase the accuracy of estimates and assessments of the impact of management actions.

Key words: Capreolus capreolus; hunting bag; distance sampling; KAI; Spain; rangers; long-term monitoring.

Full Text:



Acevedo P, Delibes-Mateos M, Escudero MA, Vicente J, Marco J, Gortazar C. 2005. Environmental constraints in the colonization sequence of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus Linnaeus, 1758) across the Iberian Mountains, Spain. J Biogeogr 32, 1671-1680.

Acevedo P, Ferreres J, Jaroso R, Durán M, Escudero MA, Marco J, Gortázar C. 2010. Estimating roe deer abundance from pellet group counts in Spain: An assessment of methods suitable for Mediterranean woodlands. Ecol Indic 10, 1226-1230.

Acevedo P, Ruiz-Fons F, Vicente J, Reyes-García AR, Alzaga V, Gortázar C. 2008. Estimating red deer abundance in a wide range of management situations in Mediterranean habitats. J Zool 276, 37-47.

Acevedo P, Vincente J, Hofle U, Cassinello J, Ruiz-Fons F, Gortázar C. 2007. Estimation of European wild boar relative abundance and aggregation: a novel method in epidemiological risk assessment. Epidemiol Infect 135, 519–527. PMid:16893488 PMCid:PMC2870594

Andersen R, Duncan P, Linnell JDC. 1998. The European roe deer: the biology of success. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press.

Apollonio M, Andersen R, Putman R. 2010. European ungulates and their management in the 21st Century. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Buckland ST, Anderson DA, Burnham KP, Laake JL. 1993. Distance Sampling: estimating abundance of biological populations. London, UK.: Chapman & Hall. PMCid:PMC1676856

Buckland ST, Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Laake JL, Borchers DL, Thomas L. 2001. Introduction to Distance Sampling. Oxford: Oxford University Press. PMCid:PMC1731766

Burón D, Fernández L, Martínez AL, López JC, Fernández-Mellado R. 2005. Status of roe deer population in Northen Guadalajara (Spain). Jerez.

Cargnelutti B, Reby D, Desneux L, Angibault JM, Joachim J, AJM H. 2002. Space use by roe deer in a fragmented landscape. Some preliminary results. Revue d'Ecologie (Terre Vie) 57, 29–37.

Focardi S, Aragno P, Montanaro P, Riga F. 2006. Inter-specific competition from fallow deer Dama dama reduces habitat quality for the Italian roe deer Capreolus capreolus italicus. Ecography 29, 407-417.

Gill RMA. 1990. Monitoring the status of European and North American cervids. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.

Gordon IJ, Hester AJ, Festa-Bianchet M. 2004. The management of wild large herbivores to meet economic, conservation and environmental objectives. J Appl Ecol 41, 1021-1031.

Gortázar C, Herrero J, Villafuerte R, Marco J. 2000. Historical examination of the status of large mammals in Aragon, Spain. Mammalia 64, 411-422.

Herrero J, 2003. Functional adaptation of wild boar to a forest ecosystem and an intensive agrarian ecosystem in Aragon. Publications of the Council for the Protection of Nature of Aragon. Investigation Series, 41.

Jędrzejewska B, Jędrzejewski W, Bunevich AN, Miłkowski L, Krasiński ZA. 1997. Factors shaping population densities and increase rates of ungulates in Białowieża Primeval Forest (Poland and Belarus) in the 19th and 20th centuries. Acta Theriol 42, 399–451.

Jędrzejewska B, Okarma H, Jędrzejewski W, L. M. 1994. Effects of exploitation and protection on forest structure, ungulate density and wolf predation in Białowieża Primeval Forest, Poland. J Appl Ecol 31, 664–676.

Jędrzejewski W, Jędrzejewska B, Okarma H, Ruprecht AL. 1992. Wolf predation and snow cover as mortality factors in the ungulate community of the Bialowieża National Park, Poland. Oecologia 90, 27-36.

Leránoz I, Castién E. 1996. Evolución de la población del jabalí (Sus scrofa L., 1758) en Navarra (N península ibérica) (1996). Misc Zool 19, 133-139.

Marco J, Herrero J, Escudero MA, Fernández-Arberas O, Ferreres J, García-Serrano A, Giménez-Anaya A, Labarta JL, Monrabal L, Prada C. 2011. Veinte a-os de seguimiento poblacional de ungulados silvestres en Aragón. Pirineos 166, 135-157.

Martinez SJ. 1997. El corzo en la Reserva Regional de Caza de Ancares. Veterinaria y Fauna Salvaje: Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Zamora. pp. 91–110.

Mayle BA, Peace AJ, Gill RMA. 1999. How many deer? A fieldguide to estimating deer populations. Edinburgh: Forestry Commission, UK. PMid:10086510

Meriggi A, Sotti F, Lamberti P, Gilio N. 2009. A review of the methods for monitoring roe deer European populations with particular reference to Italy. Hystrix 19, 103-120.

Mysterud A, Bjornsen BH, Østbye E. 1997. Effects of snow depth on food and habitat selection by roe deer Capreolus capreolus along an altitudinal gradient in south-central Norway. Wildl Biol 3, 27-33.

Osuna D, Prada C, Herrero J, Marco J. 2006-2008. Distribución de los ungulados silvestres en Aragón (2001-2005) determinada a partir de encuestas. Lucas Mallada 13, 191-212.

Panzacchi M, Linnell JDC, Odden J, Odden M, Andersen R. 2008. When a generalist becomes a specialist: patterns of red fox predation on roe deer fawns under contrasting conditions. Can J Zool 86, 116-126.

Prada C, Revilla M, García-Serrano A, Herrero J, Arnal MC, Martínez D, Fernández de Luco D, Pueyo JA, E. E. 2007. Seguimiento y gestión del corzo Capreolus capreolus L. en las Reservas de Caza del Pirineo aragonés; Mieres, Asturias, Spain.

Putman R, Watson P, Langbein J. 2011. Assessing deer densities and impacts at the appropriate level for management: a review of methodologies for use beyond the site scale. Mammal Rev 41, 197-219.

Solberg EJ, Sæther B-E, Heim M, Ringsby TH. 2002. Biased adult sex ratio can affect fecundity in primiparous moose Alces alces. Wildl Biol 8, 117-128.

Thomas L, Laake JL, Strindberg S, Marques FFC, Buckland ST, Borchers DL, Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Hedley SL, Pollard JH and others. 2006. Distance 5.0. Research Unit for Wildlife Population Assessment, University of St. Andrews, UK.

Thomas T, Buckland ST, Rexstad EA, Laake JL, Strindberg S, Hedley SL, Bishop JRB, Marques TA, Burnham KP. 2010. Distance software: design and analysis of distance sampling surveys for estimating population size. J Appl Ecol 47, 5–14. PMid:20383262 PMCid:PMC2847204

Van Laere G, Maillard J, Boutin M, Delome D. 1991. Le suivi des populations de chevreuils: des methodes traditionalles d'estimation aux indicateus population-environment. Bulletin Mensuel de l'Office National de la Chasse 244, 46-53.

Vincent JP, Gaillard J-M, Bideau E. 1991. Kilometric index as biological indicator for monitoring forest roe deer populations. Acta Theriol 36, 315–328.

Williams D, Acevedo P, Gortázar C, Escudero MA, Labarta JL, Marco J, Villafuerte R. 2007. Hunting for answers: rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) population trends in northeastern Spain. Eur J Wildlife Res 53, 19–28.

DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013223-02820