Census methods and big-game optimization in Sierra Morena (Córdoba, Spain)

R. Lenzano, R. Zamora


Some census methods (transects, direct counts and hunting results) are compared and applied in a private owned hunting land in Sierra Morena, in order to estimate deer (Cervus elaphus) population, avoiding to exceed carrying game capacity. These methods can be easily implemented and make good estimates of deer populations. Some cases are also analyzed with respect to fence the estate or keep it as an open land, seeking to maximize the profit margin for the owner. Cost of finishing present enclosure is considered as initial investment. The best option found was to hunt once each three-year period, after an initial four years period of population adjustment. In this case, the net income varied between 4435-5317 pta/ha, with a investment return period of 7-10 years, depending on variations of current costs.


Census methods; Mediterranean forests; Sustainable game management; Profitability

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