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Efficient Predator Management on Waterfowl Production Areas


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rainwater Basin Waterfowl Management
District, P.O. Box 1686, Kearney, NE 68848

The Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Arrowwood Wetland Management District (WMD), North Dakota, removed predators on two different clusters of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) during the 1988 and 1989 nesting seasons. Trapping was conducted by professional trappers hired specifically to remove mammalian predators, the major cause of nest predation. During 1988, 13 WPAs in northwestern Stutsman County totaling 5,624 acres were trapped. A total of 256 predators were removed. Mayfield nest success on monitored trapped WPAs varied from a low of 9.1% to 35.2%. During 1989, 19 WPAs in west-central Stutsman County were trapped totalling 6,523 acres. A total of 378 predators were removed. Mayfield nest success on two monitored areas was 18% and 27%. Next success on untrapped areas was 2% and 9%. Costs averaged $6,744 per year. The cost of the treatment averaged $ 1. 11 per acre and $21.27 per animal removed. Treatment cost averaged $8.76 per duck produced. This cost compares very favorably with other management actions directed at increasing waterfowl production. No other acceptable management technique is able to treat large areas as cheaply as an efficient and effective upland trapping program.
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