Impacts of Rabbit Hunting on Northern Bobwhite Demographics and Behavior
January 2016 - August 2021
- Clinton Moore, Co-Principal Investigator
- James Martin, Principal Investigator
- Richard Chandler, Co-Principal Investigator
- Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Management of early successional habitat for northern bobwhites often provides habitat for other species, such as rabbits, with similar habitat preferences. This positive by-product creates additional opportunities for those who participate in small-game hunting. However, the concurrent pursuit of two species with similar habitat requirements may create conflicts among hunters or affect the demography or behavior of one or both of the species. Rabbit hunting, in particular, has the potential to disrupt bobwhite movements and behavior given the nature of pursuit involving large hunting parties and packing dogs. This disruption may subsequently affect bobwhite survival and/or bobwhite hunter satisfaction. This study focuses on effects of hunting at one Georgia DNR Wildlife Management Area in which activities of the two types of hunters are separated in time. Specifically, the study investigates whether rabbit hunting activity disrupts bobwhite behavior sufficiently to impact bird demography and consequently bobwhite hunter satisfaction.