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Effect of a delayed hunting season on the reproduction phenology of the zenaida dove (Zenaida a. aurita) in the French West Indies

, : Effect of a delayed hunting season on the reproduction phenology of the zenaida dove (Zenaida a. aurita) in the French West Indies. Game and Wildlife Science 20(4): 241-257

Bags of the zenaida dove, Zenaida a. aurita, were analysed in the French West Indies to assess the phenology and biological parameters of their reproduction. We compared data obtained in 1986-1990 when hunting opened in late July, to 1991-1994 when hunting opened in late August. The adult sex ratio was 54.9% males (n = 876). The frequency of males and females with milk in their crop and sexually active was lower in birds shot after late August than in those shot after late July, whereas their age ratio was higher (536 immature doves for 861 adults, ratio 0.81 vs 425 immature doves for 525 adults, ratio 0.62). The comparison of observed curves of hatching dates and a theoretical one allows the following conclusions: (1) the beginning of the hunting season in July occurred during maximal breeding activity, (2) under these conditions, hunting stopped reproductive activity, (3) delaying the opening date to the end of August in Martinique for the four years 1991-1994 yielded a gain of 59% in the production of juveniles. Nevertheless, the local breeding population is declining. Therefore, we suggest that there is an immigration of birds to the islands, and the entire metapopulation inhabiting the complete range of the zenaida dove must be taken into consideration to plan bag quotas.

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