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Summary

The selection and hunting patterns of Valley Bisa hunters were studied as part of a broader ecological investigation of human communities between the two sections of the Luangwa Valley Game Reserves in Zambia. This article provides information on the frequency and duration of hunts recorded for 1 year, yields of individual hunters, prey selection, frequency of kill, community meat supplies and the effect of human and carnivore predation on population levels on a study area of some 155 km2.

Individuals who hunted were classified into four categories–resident, transient, occasional, and official, dependent upon their role in the community, length of time spent on the study area and their village of primary residence. The most frequent hunters were residents followed in rank order by officials, transients and occasionals. Hunts were of shorter duration during the dry season, when game was close to villages, than during the wet season.

Generally hunters who owned or had access to modern weapons were more successful in their pursuits of game than were those who used muzzle-loading guns. A total of 27 451 kg of meat (carcass yield) was made available to 466 local residents during the course of the year; 40% of this was attributed to the activities of the game guards. Valley Bisa hunters killed primarily buffalo, impala, warthogs, and waterbuck; most of these were males and adults. The kills recorded for carnivores suggest that they took primarily female buffalo and zebra. There was no evidence to suggest that either type of predation was damaging to the game herds on the study area.