To shoot or not to shoot? That is the question asked by researchers looking into the behavior of hunters. Turns out the decisions hunters make are subconsciously tied to factors related to the season and competition among hunters.
Researchers with Wageningen and Norwegian universities studied more than 180,000 choice situations where hunters had eyes on an animal and needed to make a decision whether to shoot. They found it basically boiled down to how much pressure they were facing both in terms of the season, other hunters and animal abundance.
Late in the season, a hunter might be more likely to take a shot knowing that the chances of finding another animal might be slim. Stiffer competition among hunters or a shortage of animals in general might also make a hunter more likely to pull the trigger.
The results might seem obvious, but by quantifying just how much these factors play a role in hunting behaviors researchers hope the results can help policymakers better craft wildlife management rules and strike the right balance between conservation and public use. For hunters, understanding these pressures can help them make better decisions.
“The findings tell us that the human factor plays an important role in hunting,” said Wageningen researcher Andries Richter in the journal Phys.org. “Theoretical options for adapting wildlife management policies include carrying over the unused quota from one season into the next season or introducing an individual quota per hunter,” he said.
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