In Japan, wildlife management relies heavily on private hunters. This study analyzed the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 on hunters' activities and attitudes. A survey of hunters in 19 prefectures (mainly in eastern Japan) was conducted using a questionnaire in 2012 at hunter training sessions, which hunters are obligated to attend every three years. Of the 26,794 questionnaires distributed, 22,008 (82.1%) were recovered.
Our analysis showed that hunters' concerns about radioactive contamination of the hunting grounds were prominent in Fukushima prefecture, especially along the coast, and in parts of Ibaragi prefecture. Concerns over radioactive contamination of game meat were more broadly shared among hunters over a wider geographic range.
Results showed that hunters were avoiding hunting in several regions. A core area of avoidance was located in the Pacific coastal region of Fukushima prefecture. Significant declines in hunting activity were also found in the Nikko region of Tochigi prefecture and in the southern parts of Miyagi prefecture.
Expansion of wild boar (Sus scrofa) populations has become a management issue. Therefore, hunters' concerns towards radioactive contamination of game meat may have adverse effects on wildlife management, as Sus scrofa has a strong tendency to accumulate nuclear radioactivity and hunters may avoid hunting wild boars even in lower risk areas.
As hunting remains the most viable tool for wildlife management in Japan, management agencies should take action to prevent the decline in hunting activity due to radioactive contamination, for instance, by monitoring radioactive contamination of wildlife, and then organizing the distribution of these data to hunters, thus enable them to hunt with lower risk and contribute to wildlife management through their activities.
We compared the attractiveness of five baits (mineral salt, corn, hay cube, rice bran, and Japanese cedar cutting seedling) to sika deer (Cervus nippon) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). We conducted four feeding experiments using camera traps from August 16 to November 19, 2017. To evaluate the attractiveness of the five baits, we counted the number of animals photographed per hour for each bait. We then evaluated the appearance patterns of deer and boar to feeding sites and clarified the influence of the appearance of each mammal on other mammal. Deer strongly preferred mineral salt (P < 0.001), while boar preferred rice bran (P < 0.01). In addition, deer and boar showed similar appearance patterns. To capture only deer, mineral salt would be the most effective bait.
In Japan, wildlife managers are considering night culling as a new tool for managing sika deer populations, but there is no information on effective night culling practices. We investigated the relationships among distance from the observation sites, luminous intensity, and deer behavior on Nakanoshima Island, Hokkaido, Japan, from October 18 to November 19, 2016. We used two kinds of lights and recorded the luminous intensity, number of deer, herd size, and flight behavior, including the time to initiation of flight. In addition, we used infrared-triggered cameras to clarify the influence of the distance between the observation sites and the bait sites on deer appearance frequency. We found a significant relationship between flight frequency and herd size under conditions of high luminous intensity. The proportion of flight behavior decreased as distance from the observation sites increased. In addition, the proportion of flight behavior under high luminous intensity tended to be higher than that under low luminous intensity. Moreover, more deer were photographed beyond survey time than during survey time at bait sites that were 25m and 50m away from the observation sites. We suggest, therefore, that setting bait sites at a distance of 50-100m from the observation sites would likely cause the following outcomes: deer would appear more frequently at bait sites, deer would be less likely to flee, and the success of culling would increase. Wildlife managers would have to use adequate lighting to maintain sufficient visibility and safety without heightening the alert responses of the deer.
A decline in the number of recreational hunters, and an average increase in their age, is a major issue for management of sika deer and wild boars in Japan. The aim of this paper was to assess the attitude of recreational hunters towards recruitment of hunters. Members of the Kanagawa hunting association were surveyed via questionnaires in 2015 and there were 802 valid respondents. The average number of annual days spent hunting increased with hunter age and was significantly higher for hunters in their 60s and 70s. 93.4% of the respondents were interested in the declining number of hunters and 83.3% thought that it was a significant problem. 82.4% of the respondents agreed that they would be willing to do something to halt the decline of hunters, but this ranged from proactive involvement to a willingness to contribute if organized by other hunters.