In 1966-1971, eastern US states with hunting seasons on mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) participated in a study designed to estimate the effects of bag limit increases on population survival rates. More than 400 000 adult and juvenile birds were banded and released during this period, and subsequent harvest and return of bands, together with total harvest estimates from mail and telephone surveys of hunters, provided the database for analysis. The original analysis used an ANOVA framework, and resulted in inferences of no effect of bag limit increase on population parameters (Hayne 1975). We used a logistic regression analysis to infer that the bag limit increase did not cause a biologically significant increase in harvest rate and thus the experiment could not provide any insight into the relationship between harvest and annual survival rates. Harvest rate estimates of breeding populations from geographical subregions were used as covariates in a Program MARK analysis and revealed an association between annual survival and harvest rates, although this relationship is potentially confounded by a latitudinal gradient in survival rates of dove populations. We discuss methodological problems encountered in the analysis of these data, and provide recommendations for future studies of the relationship between harvest and annual survival rates of mourning dove populations.
Additional publication details
Re-analysis of a banding study to test the effects of an experimental increase in bag limits of mourning doves