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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effects of hunting refuges on wildfowl in Illinois, USA

Published source details

Bellrose F.C. (1954) The value of waterfowl refuges in Illinois. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 18, 160-169


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Use wildlife refuges to reduce hunting disturbance Bird Conservation

A site comparison study from 1940-1951 in two natural, 400 private and 13 public waterfowl refuges of wetland habitat in Illinois, USA (Bellrose 1954), found that waterfowl refuges should cover at least 400 ha if shooting is permitted. Refuges where hunting is prohibited exhibit higher waterfowl abundance (for example, duck populations increased on average by 37,075 ducks/refuge over seven years in sites where hunting became closed). Similarly, hunting-restricted refuges exhibit greater duck usage (4,010, 911 and 56 duck-days/ha over 50 days for a non-hunting refuge, a hunting refuge and a non-refuge respectively). Refuge size affects hunting impact: one smaller refuge containing higher concentrations of duck food than a larger, nearby refuge exhibits significantly lower average duck density (1,504 compared to 4,327 ducks/ha), but significantly higher hunting pressure (15 compared to 8% of the population hunted). In total, refuges cover 23,209 ha, of which 2,023 ha are open to hunting.