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Experiments Controlling Nest Predation by Reducing the Density of
Nest Predators of Gamebirds in Europe (With Special Reference to
Gray Partridge and Mallard)


The Game Conservancy, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 1EF Great Britain

This paper draws primarily on The Game Conservancy's ongoing experimental studies of the gray partridge, now in their 58th year, and secondly on more general, but still experimental, studies of the willow/red grouse and mallard.

The impact of predation is illustrated by the special case of shooting. A picture has emerged that effects of shooting on game are very similar to those of fishing on fish. Shooting is sustained through time because the non-shot part of the population is released from some density-dependent mortality.

The effects of predator reduction will be shown using data from the 6-year experiment on two areas of Salisbury Plain. The benefits of reducing numbers of common nest predators were evident in all years on both areas. Evidence from the other experimental studies suggests that willow/red grouse and mallards are limited in much the same way as partridges. For all these species, it appears that predator control is more important than often supposed.

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