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An experimental assessment of shotgun discharge on aluminum legband retention

Authors

  • Ray T. Alisauskas,

    Corresponding author
    1. Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre, 115 Perimeter Rd., Saskatoon, SK, S7N 0X4, Canada
    • Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Prairie and Northern Wildlife Research Centre, 115 Perimeter Rd., Saskatoon, SK, S7N 0X4, Canada.
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  • Guthrie S. Zimmerman

    1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 11510 American Holly Drive, Laurel, MD 20708, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Michael Chamberlain.

Abstract

Although metal legbands have been an important scientific tool, their use for estimation of harvest and survival relies on samples of dead birds harvested by hunters using shotguns. We hypothesized that the force of steel pellets discharged from a shotgun, within the range of conditions normally experienced by goose hunters, was sufficient to reduce probability of band retention. We conducted 8 experimental trials to estimate retention per round fired at aluminum bands normally applied to arctic-nesting geese in relation to effects of 1) target range (20 m vs. 40 m), 2) steel pellet size (4.57 mm [BB] vs. 3.81 mm [number 2]), 3) cartridge size (76.2 mm [3 in.] vs. 69.9 mm [2.75 in.]), and 4) number of rounds fired (up to 25). There was nearly complete band retention (0.999/round) at 40 m regardless of shot size or shell size used. Retention per round fired at 20 m declined to between 0.984 and 0.987 for number 2 shot and between 0.968 and 0.974 for BB shot. Our conclusions apply to unworn bands, so we recommend further simulations to assess how retention may change with age of bands as they erode or corrode on free-ranging geese. Bias in estimates associated with loss of older bands from shotgun discharge could be adjusted if bias is estimated as done in this article. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

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