Filling a Void: Abundance Estimation of North American Populations of Arctic Geese Using Hunter Recoveries

  • Ray T. Alisauskas
  • Kiel L. Drake
  • James D. Nichols
Part of the Environmental and Ecological Statistics book series (ENES, volume 3)


We consider use of recoveries of marked birds harvested by hunters, in conjunction with continental harvest estimates, for drawing inferences about continental abundance of a select number of goose species. We review assumptions of this method, a version of the Lincoln–Petersen approach, and consider its utility as a tool for making decisions about harvest management in comparison to current sources of information. Finally, we compare such estimates with existing count data, photographic estimates, or other abundance estimates. In most cases, Lincoln estimates are far higher than abundances assumed or perhaps accepted by many waterfowl biologists and managers. Nevertheless, depending on the geographic scope of inference, we suggest that this approach for abundance estimation of arctic geese may have usefulness for retrospective purposes or to assist with harvest management decisions for some species. Lincoln’s estimates may be as close or closer to truth than count, index, or photo data, and can be used with marking efforts currently in place for estimation of survival and harvest rates. Although there are bias issues associated with estimates of both harvest and harvest rate, some of the latter can be addressed with proper allocation of marks to spatially structured populations if subpopulations show heterogeneity in harvest rates.


Harvest Rate Breeding Range Snow Goose Regular Season Direct Recovery 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray T. Alisauskas
    • 1
  • Kiel L. Drake
  • James D. Nichols
  1. 1.Environment CanadaPrairie and Northern Wildlife Research CentreSaskatoonCanada

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