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Keywords:

  • adaptive harvest management;
  • Anas platyrhynchos;
  • mallard;
  • reporting rates;
  • reward banding

ABSTRACT

Reliable estimates of annual harvest rates are required for the implementation of mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) adaptive harvest management decision frameworks. Because not all standard bands recovered during the hunting season are reported, band reporting probabilities are needed to estimate mallard harvest rates. Information from birds recovered with bands that notify finders of a reward (i.e., reward bands) can be used to estimate band reporting rates. We analyzed reward banding data for 3 stocks of mallards to estimate reporting probabilities that can be used to estimate harvest rates for birds recovered with toll-free or web-address bands. Specifically, we explored spatial variability in reporting probabilities, and assessed whether reporting probabilities varied among years. Our analysis indicated that reporting probabilities varied among the 4 Flyways, eastern Canada, and western Canada and Alaska. We had difficulty interpreting temporal fluctuations and found little evidence for any meaningful trends in reporting rates between 2002 and 2010. We recommend that reporting probabilities of 0.67 in the Atlantic Flyway, 0.81 in the Mississippi Flyway, 0.70 in the Central Flyway, 0.76 in the Pacific Flyway, 0.50 in eastern Canada, and 0.57 in western Canada and Alaska be used to estimate harvest probabilities for birds recovered in these regions. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.