The main purpose of hunting in Japanese early modern age was nuisance control, and that of in modern age was commercial and minor-subsistent. Since 1960s, hunting for these purposes has drastically decreased and recreational hunting has prospered rapidly. Today, recreational hunting is also declining due to hunters' aging and reduction in number. Under this situation, control hunting, especially conducted by the public sector, is increasing with the expansion of wildlife damage. The development of modern legal system on hunting began in the 1890s and its current framework was established by the amendment of the 'Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act (WPHA)' in 1963. The WPHA is a law regulating the capture of wild birds and mammals with a view to protecting wildlife through enhancing various restrictions. However, this legal system did not work well due to lack of a process to set the concrete number of animals to be hunted in the field in accordance with the overall management objectives. In 1999, WPHA was revised again and the Specific Wildlife Management Planning System, the first scientific wildlife management planning system in Japan, was introduced. The latest amendment of WPHA in 2014, established a new control program and a certification system for professional culling to promote wildlife damage control by public sector. The WPHA is evolving to achieve two objectives of strengthening biodiversity conservation and wildlife damage control simultaneously.
The Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act was revised in 2014 including changing its title to the Wildlife Protection and Management, and Proper Hunting Act. The author analyses the revision according to the elements of hunting and capturing of wildlife: cause (purpose), object, hunter, devise, and the place to hunt. As seen from the change in the title of the Act, the revision emphasizes management of wildlife as cause and purpose for capturing and hunting wildlife. Accordingly, categorization of wildlife was changed. To facilitate control of over-abundant species-namely wild boar and deer-the revised Act splits the species management planning system to species to protect and species to manage, which is defined to decrease its numbers and/or its range. The organization of hunters is the largest change in the revision. In Japan, wildlife management activities, such as wildlife damage control and culling, are conducted by hunters belonging to the local hunters associations of the given area. Usually hunters are not payed. Hunters are motivated to volunteer not only many of them are farmers themselves but they feel obligated to deal with wildlife problems in their local hunting grounds. This practice is embedded in the institutions and traditions of agrarian Japanese rural society. The revised Act, however, aims to facilitate professional cooperate bodies to take the place of local hunters as paid contractors and eventually establish a market for wildlife management. The revised Act makes a small change in hunting devises by facilitating the use of tranquilizer guns in residential areas. Regarding the place to hunt, the revision did not introduce any changes. The issue inevitably connects to the question of landownership and hunting. Japanese statutes leaves most of the question to local custom and it is generally accepted that hunters are not necessary required to get permission from the landowner to hunt. However, this tradition may face challenges due to rapid urbanization and change in rural communities.
Based on a proposal from the Mammal Society of Japan about the revision of the Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act, I arranged problems and proposed. This Act revision was aimed just for the increase or decrease of the population and the expansion or reduction of the distribution. Securing of adaptive management based on present conditions evaluations such as the inspection of the capture is necessary. Therefore a project evaluation of the specialist in part of plan control are necessary every area. It is necessary to install a scientific committee to control plan progress, and to evaluate in the prefectual specific plan for wildlife and should install a study meeting controlling of the prevention of damage plan as the taskforce. The geography information analysis that integrated the damage investigation by the municipality unit with the habitation investigation into specific plan of the prefecture should do it with the requisiteness item. Based on this analysis, each main constituent should carry out density management, distribution management, and individual management to the regional real condition.
The Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Act was revised in 2014 in Japan, adding wildlife management as the one of main purposes at length. It contains the new programs to cull deer and wild boars by prefectural or national governments as public enterprises and to authorize organizations to cull them by prefectures. However, it does not include certification of individuals with technical skills. Deer Stalking Certificates (DSC) Level I and II in the UK are the comprehensive programs to certificate individuals with understandings about basic deer management principles and competence in legally, safely, and humanly culling deer and dealing with carcasses hygienically. We took part in the training course of DSC Level I and got the certificates in the British Association for Shooting and Conservation in December in 2014. We discussed how to train hunters, cullers, and wildlife managers modeling on the UK where deer culling and venison use are linked.
Conflicts between wild animals and humans have been increasing during the recent years, resulting in damage to human environments and infrastructure as well as injuries to humans. In urban areas, capturing the wild animals is a difficult task because, by law, firearms cannot be used. As a method for rapidly incapacitating and capturing these animals, it has become legal to use tranquilizer guns, as they are non-lethal, and there is little danger of damage to the property. Capturing via tranquilizer gun is a safe method; however, operational problems remain. Because tranquilizer guns are drug delivery systems and not firearms, written tests and practical exams for the use of tranquilizer guns are not imposed. A person who does not have basic firearm training can still use the guns, as long as he/she passes police inspection. Because there are various problems in the positioning and operation of tranquilizer guns in the amended law, there is an immediate need to create user manuals and to formulate rules to prevent accidents.
We assessed the ability of farmers to accurately identify mammals causing crop damage, by interviewing 134 farmers in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The farmers identified crop damage caused by Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) based on sightings; that caused by sika deer (Cervus nippon) and wild boars (Sus scrofa) based on footprints and/or feeding signs; and that caused by masked palm civets (Paguma larvata), raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides), and Japanese badgers (Meles anakuma) based on feeding signs. The result showed a high accuracy of Japanese macaque identification causing crop damage; however, the accuracy of footprint identification for sika deer and wild boars was low. Furthermore, many farmers confused the footprints of three mammals with one another-the sika deer, wild boars, and Japanese serows (Capricornis crispus). Thus, reports regarding the identification of mammals that cause crop damage by farmers need to be carefully reviewed. Generalized Linear Mixed Model analysis indicated that hunting and effective communication with hunters positively affected the accuracy of the answers. This suggests that a platform to communicate with hunters or experts can be effectively offered to farmers to enhance their knowledge and ability to accurately identify mammals that cause crop damage.