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Spillover benefits of wildlife management to support pheasant populations

Authors

  • Aaron Anderson,

    Corresponding author
    • United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, CO, USA
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  • Karen Gebhardt,

    1. Department of Economics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
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  • Wylie T. Cross,

    1. United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services Wyoming State Office, Casper, WY, USA
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  • Stephanie A. Shwiff

    1. United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services Wyoming State Office, Casper, WY, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Sands

E-mail: aaron.m.anderson@aphis.usda.gov

Abstract

Ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) and other upland game populations in Wyoming, USA, have been declining due to changes in agricultural practices, urban development, and predation. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) have been implicated as one of the main predators of pheasant nests. Management of raccoons to support pheasant populations has the direct benefit of increasing pheasant populations and additional spillover benefits to corn producers in the region may occur. We conducted a field study in southeastern Wyoming from July to October 2009 to estimate the increase in corn yield associated with raccoon trapping. Although the primary purpose of the raccoon trapping was the support of upland game bird populations, the added benefit of increased revenue for corn producers is an important consideration. We tracked corn damage in 10 study plots over 6 weeks and estimated that trapping raccoons yields a revenue increase of US$10.75/ha. This type of spillover benefit is rarely considered when raccoon management decisions are made but is significant and should be included in any explicit or implicit benefit–cost analysis of the management action. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.

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