RED DEER MANAGEMENT PRACTICE

Red Deer, although in principle a migratory type of species, nevertheless stays in a certain area of ​​the habitat at a certain time during the year. Likewise, as a rule, females, during the calving period, are mostly in more or less the same areas within a certain habitat. The value of the habitat or simply parts of the hunting ground is determined primarily by the facts related to the quality of peace, shelter, food and water. Over time, certain rules are observed in a hunting ground regarding the appearance of females, the appearance of males, body weight related to age classes, the value of trophies, etc. In order to notice and show this, it is important to correctly record everything that is achieved by habitat units. Soon, in relation to calves, it will be noticed that in some habitat the body weight of calves were higher than in other habitat units. Knowing the population dynamics and the laws related to the population parameters, it is important to avoid such areas in relation to the shooting of calves.

That is, in such areas (habitats) as part of regular shooting, the shooting should be done minimally, focus on selective and sanitary shooting. In accordance with the above, in other areas – habitats that show values ​​significantly lower than some other habitats, hunting / shooting should be carried out in a significant intervention. When hunting, be guided by the knowledge that such economically weaker calves cannot compensate for the growth and development from the first year of life. Even if such calves were born at the optimal time, they will be behind their generation in more valuable habitats of better nutritional quality due to the lower value of the habitat. So in economic terms, if the goal is to raise trophy-valuable heads, such calves, as part of the total hunting population, do not provide sufficient value that the breeding goal would tolerate.

In addition to population parameters, and in relation to the realization of the set values ​​of population parameters for age / sex classes, the climate year also has a great influence. Namely, in addition to genetic predispositions and good habitat conditions and even the best habitat units within the hunting ground, a bad climate year can blur the real picture of an individual age / sex class. In that case, when we have results in the field that we did not expect or that are not common, we should not make hasty decisions, but try to think of a possible cause first and repeat the sample. In the case of a bad climate year, when the results in the age class of calves are below expectations, it would be good to remove the maximum number of calves from the hunting ground because such calves will not be able to reach the desired weight thresholds. nor to achieve the desired results related to the reproduction and growth and development of the antlers.

Such animals that do not reach the required values ​​at the first threshold (body threshold) should be removed from the population as soon as possible in order to reduce competition for space and food. In contrast to a bad year, a climate-optimal year can also occur. This would mean that both temperature and sunlight and rainfall as well as the time when rainfall occurs hit the right moments, first during fetal calf finalization and calving time, and then climatic conditions positively accompany all critical points during calf growth and development. At such years, which again need to be recognized, it is necessary to minimally interfere with the shooting in the age class of calves.

The reason is that this is the generation that will raise the breeding parameters and it will be possible to achieve top results in the future. So that does not mean that there will be capital stags, but such a climate year and that good start allows to achieve top results. Although the natural sex ratio is 1: 1, if our goal is to raise trophy-worthy males, this sex ratio is certainly a desire to move towards the male part of the population. For this reason, it would be good to determine, for calf, before selection whether it is a male or female calf, and in the case of satisfactory physical development at the time in both heads, decide to remove the female. Competition within the sex class is one of the factors of better results when we talk about trophies in species that are species of game living in the herd.

HUNTING IN THE SERVICE OF HUMAN DEMOGRAPHY

Demography is defined as the science of population, it encompasses the study of the number and spatial distribution of the population, the natural and migratory movements of the population, and changes in population structures. The main goal of demography is to understand the legality of population development in certain socio – economic conditions. Today, the struggle for population is in force in market economy countries. Whether the population is seen as a labour force, or as consumers or as capital for the future – it is needed by all and is part of the overall development policy. Guidelines, regulations and other acts are used to encourage activities that the population of a region, county, municipality, etc. is engaged in. Creating a good atmosphere, positive and focused legal acts that allow innovation, which are developmental, above all long-term and affirmative towards the community of people who inhabit an area. Affirmative in terms of understanding the activity that is basic in an area and adapting other activities to that basic activity – especially if there is an interest related to keeping the population in certain areas. We are witnesses that today most of the territory of the Republic of Croatia can be considered endangered by the lack of human population and emigration of the human population, with the exception of a few larger urban areas. It is necessary to determine the real demographic situation – but until then the first step is very simple – legislation to facilitate the decision to remain a community that inhabits an area. Regulate regulations and institutions in terms of development towards the activity that is the reason why a group of people stayed in an area and decided to live there.

Hunting in this case can be seen as an activity that helps the demographic development of an area. Hunting can be directly included as a component of tourism – hunting tourism, can be included as part of the continental tourism offer, can be the initiator of later arrivals of the same tourists to practice other forms of tourism. In addition to this direct, developmental and representative function, we can talk about hunting in terms of reducing the conflict between human society and the wild world. Hunting can be used directly as a tool in reducing damage to agricultural crops, further as a tool related to reducing damage in livestock, then as a tool in reducing damage when crashing into vehicles, then as a tool in reducing the possibility of zoonosis (rabies) and others. Management of wildlife populations and moderation of wildlife populations is necessary for the local community to continue its activities and live in an area. This is, of course, about family farms and small entrepreneurs who see their life and survival in the area they live in.

European Union directives related to the promotion of the conservation of biological diversity take into account economic, social, cultural and regional needs and contribute to the general objective of sustainable development. The aim of conservation is the long-term protection of natural resources as an integral part of the heritage of the peoples of Europe and the management of those resources. It shall control natural resources and regulate their use on the basis of measures necessary to maintain and adjust the natural balance between species, as far as reasonably possible.

So the topics that institutions (in charge of hunting) if such strategic thinking is of interest should pay attention are to help local communities that base their existence on agriculture, tourism or activities that can significantly improve their status if existing disputes are resolved or possible conflicts are prevented!

CHANGES OF RED DEER (CERVUS ELAPHUS, L.) PEDICLES WITH AGE AT BARANJA DANUBE`S REGION

Antles of deer family (Cervidae) is an example of fast growing bones and the only bony structure form of mammals, capable of complete regeneration. Every year, antlers are cast and a set of new antlers are growing every year. This is called the antler growth cycle and is closely related to the reproduction cycle, hormonal processes and photoperiodism in the Cervidae family. The antlers, that are changing every year, grow on the pedicles that last for a lifetime and that do not become bone, but are leather-coated for a lifetime.

Pedicles grow during the first year of life, when a male calf comes into puberty. Usually it is during the fifth or sixth month of life, but beside the age, for the growth of the pedicles and the first antlers, it is more important that a male calf reach a certain threshold of body mass. Physical mass allows entry into puberty and involves the work of male sex glands (testis) that leads to male sex hormone (testosterone) and stimulate the growth of the pedicles (Figure 1).

Thus under the growth of testosterone the pedicles grow, but antlers under the influence of tertosterone cease to grow and enter the stage of mineralization and nourishing. The evidence of the effect of testosterone on the growth of the pedicles is still found in the development of the fetus.

Between the 50th and 100th days of the development of the fetus, fetal development of the gonadal (sexual glands) in the Red deer occurs. At that time, male fetuses may notice thickening at the sites of future forward projections – the pedicles and the appearance of thickening of the neck muscles.

Both characteristics are the secondary sexual characteristics of males in Red deer and occur at the time of development of male sex glands, which then yield enough testosterone to briefly develop the development of these characteristics (Figure 2). During the life of male Red deer, pedicles change their form, so the aim of the paper was to observe changes in the males’ pedicles and to associate them with the male age class. Simply to offer a model for population management classification of male deer at age classes.

The value of the diameter of the pedicles increases with age (Graph 1), while the height of the pedicles with the age decreases (Graph 2). The practice of hunting management strives for simplicity, so this research has been carried out to simlify the classification of stags in to age classes

In addition to the height and diameter of the pedicles, a significant change in the height and diameter of the pedicles in relation to the age was found. Thus the regression coefficient of the height of the pedicles and age is significant and is R = 0.65 (AGE = 15.25 – 0.18 x height of the pedicles) (the height of the pedicles decreases with age), also the regression coefficient of the diameter of the pedicles and age is significant is R = 0.85 (AGE = 0.25 x pedicles diameter – 4.72) (the diameter of the pedicles increases with age).

Changes in the height and the diameter of the pedicles are significant and are in such a good relationship with each other as compared to the age to be counted in hunting management. These mean values ​​as well as mathematical expressions for age determination, considering the degree of significance, can be used to determine age and classification in the age classes (young males in 3, 4 and 5 years of old males, middle-aged males in 6, 7 and 8 years of old males and mature 9-year-old males) in practice of hunting management in this area of ​​research.

RED DEER ANTLER DEVELOPMENT

Red deer antlers are an example of fast-growing tissue and are the only mammal organ capable of complete regeneration. Each year set of an antlers are cast, and each year a set of a new one are grown. This is called antler growth cycle and is closely associated with reproductive cycle, hormonal processes, climate and hydrological factors. Climate and hydrological factors act directly through the air temperature, precipitation (rain, snow), snow, ice, insolation (photoperiod), frost and water levels. Habitat or the living environment is defined as a set of natural resources and conditions presented in a given area to ensure the stability of the population that inhabits it. The aim of this paper is to present climate and hydrological impacts on the value of red deer antlers on the example of hunting ground along the Danube River.

The hereditary basis, the habitat conditions and the age class are the primary determinants of the RED DEER antler development. But that is not sufficient for the development of good antlers, because the heredity cannot be displayed if the environmental conditions are not good enough during the crucial time of the year. Depending on the environmental conditions, different phenotypic effects can be expected. The reason for significantly higher values of measured traits of antlers during one period in relation to another can be found either in the factors of a population (abundance, density, sex and age structure, birth rate, mortality, etc.) or in the habitat factors (climatic factors, size, depth, fragmentation, the distribution of food, water and shelter, etc.)

Temperature as a climatic element acts directly on antler development during the autumn – winter period (November, December, January and February) and spring period (March, April, May) (Graph 1). Temperature is the one that starts and stops the development of the vegetation so during the autumn – winter period temperature is essential in the sense of longer duration of vegetation while in spring the temperature is important for early initiation of vegetation. During the autumn – winter period males with this longer lasting vegetation maintain their body weight while the early start of vegetation in spring allows males to refresh their body early and to grow a new set of antlers with full genetic capacity. It is evident from Graph 1. that the purple line (2007/2008. hunting year) is continuously above average and it is particularly important to emphasize temperature values above average during December, January and February. During these months the average temperature is around 0 0C (mostly below) as it was case in most years during the study. Antler growth in that year had an early start and longer growth period which resulted in significantly higher values of observed traits. Growth and development of antlers lasts from 120 to 150 days and the duration of growth among other factors depends of the habitat conditions (climate) during that particular year.

Precipitation (rain), as an element of the climate on growth and development of red deer antlers acts in a way that with good temperature values (above average) precipitation initiate the growth of vegetation. Precipitation together with poor temperature conditions require more energy to maintain body processes but also precipitation is together with high water level of river Danube responsible for a burst of a wetland insect population. Precipitation together with water level and temperature during April may and June determines the number of insects whose biology is related to wetlands. Insects that may affect the growth and development of red deer antlers in Danube region are mosquitoes. The intensive activity of insects (in particular mosquitoes) interferes with the normal daily rhythm (feeding – resting and chewing – looking for food) instead the animals are nervous from bites and often forced into rush sprints and cold water as a safe refuge and all that during the day and June at the time when five and more years old red deer stags begin to develop royal rich with points. It is obvious that during years with greater mosquito numbers the royals are poorer with points

All physiological processes in both plants and animals depend on sunlight. Seasonal changes are induced by the length of the day compared to night. The sun light runs so called „biological clock“which have all animals including Cervidae family. The critical day length (photoperiod) sets the length of day which when is crossed either above or below acts as a trigger for a specific physical or physiological processes. At red deer everything is programmed and occurs exactly at a certain time of the year like mating, calving, migration, changes of hair, antler growth and development.

Graph 4. clearly shows a jump in the number of sunshine hours during April of 2007/08. hunting year (purple line) and it amounted 307,2 hours, which is one third greater than the ten year average for April (205,2 hours). Number of sunshine hours during May and June are about ten year average so this study showed that the most important month for growth and antler development was April when the matter is sunshine. Von Raesfeld and Reulecke (1991) stated that according to the author Rohring the red deer antlers grow about 12 % during march, 30 % in April, 31 % during may and the rest during June and July depending of the completion of the process. How fast or how many days will one growth phase last it depends on the light impulse (the number of sunshine hours) during the time of antler growth. Therefore Bubenik (1990) states that the new antlers can grow up to 2 centimeters per day and that the whole process lasts from 120 to 150 days.

Water is the crucial environmental factor for the development of forest ecosystems in floodplain forest. In these ecosystems water appears as precipitation, flood and underground water. Floods (maximum water levels) in these ecosystems and because of snow melting and heavy rainfall occurred mostly in late winter and early spring. The amount and duration of floods occurs as a crucial factor for the survival of such ecosystems in the spring while precipitation and underground water often play a crucial role for the survival of such ecosystems during summer. The Danube water level affects nutritional base of game but also it acts as a source of stress with high water levels in spring when it overlaps with the time of antler growth and development. The high water level reduces the size of habitat area that deer population can use and that is connected with food but also with a much needed peace and the possibility of increasing parasitic diseases.

Habitat key factor is the one factor whose influence is crucial for the population parameter that is a subject of evaluation. Equally important is the presence or absence of the key habitat factor in the crucial time during the development of this parameter. When one tries to link the growth and development of antlers with one key factor in this habitat, one is confronted with a mission impossible. The natural dynamics of habitat is a collection of environmental and anthropogenic factors that cannot be observed separately.

For the practice of wildlife management it is important to monitor the climate and other habitat elements so that with this knowledge one can predict the future antler value, population growth rate, body weight of calves at the start of a hunting year. All this is important because of possible interventions in the management plans in a way that the cull will be reduced in some age classes and it will be increased in some other age classes and all with the aim of long term sustainable management both in biological and economic sense.

SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION OF WILD ANIMALS IN HABITAT

              In order to survive, reproduce and grow, animals need food sources and shelter. Given digestive processes, and competition within and between species, animals are faced with decisions about how to locate and find food sources and shelter. The type and amount of food eaten and digested is determined by the interaction of animals and the environment, whether the prey is a plant or an animal. The goal in wildlife life is to maximize nutrient intake with minimal energy expenditure. It can be said that in the world of wildlife, economy and rationality come first. In order to be able to rationalize the search, intake and digestion of food, it is in this order that an individual must gather and organize information about the quantity, distribution and quality of potential food items. The economy of digestion is conditioned by the fact that the content of food intake complements and realizes all digestive processes, which can be roughly characterized as stimulation of digestive organs (irritation to activate function) and digestion itself (maximum extraction of nutrients). The ability of an animal to find food and digest it well (peace and shelter) is precisely this limiting factor of fitness, physiological and reproductive status of the individual. The movement of individuals around the habitat with the aim of finding suitable habitats, or leaving the habitat with unsuitable living conditions determines the spatial distribution of individuals within the habitat of the game population of a hunting ground. Theoretically, we can distinguish three basic types of spatial distribution:

1. uneven distribution according to the principle of randomness,

2. even distribution,

3. uneven group layout.

An uneven distribution by chance would be possible only in an environment where living conditions in any part of the habitat are the same. An even distribution would be possible if the individuals in the habitat were distributed as plants in agricultural crops. These two types of spatial distribution in nature are almost non-existent, so the most common basic type of spatial distribution is considered to be uneven group distribution. This type of spatial distribution implies an uneven and most often group distribution on the surface of the habitat, and even in those animal species that are characterized by a predominantly individual (solitary) way of life, because they are in groups, at least during mating and rearing their young. ), and this arrangement depends on the arrangement of food or suitable places for shelter and reproduction. The social behavior of animals has an obvious influence on the spatial distribution of individuals.

In hunting management, we try to disperse the game throughout the habitat through breeding measures, but in practice this is very difficult to achieve. By managing and adapting hunting grounds to habitat improvement measures, we can create conditions in which wildlife can maximize the number of young produced, but we cannot dictate the distribution of individuals per habitat. To understand the behavior of wild animals in the habitat, it is necessary to study the parameters of population dynamics (growth, mortality), observe wild animals within the ecosystem in which they live (forest or field community), monitor the game-habitat interaction (peace-shelter-food) and the impact of habitats on the condition (excessive number of game or too many social gatherings – herds, packs, etc.), and take into account human activities on the game population and any segment of the ecosystem (soil, forest, water, etc.) . Knowing the movements of wild animals can be useful to us because we can predict which species will appear in which area and at what time, so we distinguish:

– areas of activity – daily movements of animals in order to meet basic living needs (food, water, etc.),

– braking areas – the area that the female actively defends and drives away other females that

   approaching that surface and forms an integral part of the female’s overall area of ​​activity.

– migrations – seasonal, periodic movement, due to nutritional, social (gender segregation), climatic and other reasons.

             Many species of wild animals are distributed in the hunting ground in the form of a shooting target, with the highest population density in the middle of an area, so this population density decreases from the center of the target, ie from the highest population density. The center of the highest population density is not always in the topographic center of the hunting ground, but is where the living conditions (peace-shelter-food) are best for a particular species. Likewise, there may be more of these centers with the highest population density, which depends on the way of life of a particular species, ie it depends on social stratification within the herd, seasonal migrations, sex separation during the year, etc. see how social relations and stratification within the herd, between the herd, and between the sexes can form multiple centers of high population density. In the case of roe deer, which is a remote and territorial species, it has been determined that in some areas within the hunting ground the territories are smaller and that there are more of them in relation to other areas of the same hunting ground where the territories are larger and therefore smaller. The dispersion of individuals on the surface of the hunting ground we manage is conditioned by the needs of individual species, and the most common factors are: provided peace, good shelter and the presence of food sources.

RED DEER MATING

                 September in wildlife management brings an injection of adrenaline to the wildlife manager. September is the time when one of our most economically important deer species Red Deer is breeding. It is this biological act, the breeding cycle of deer, that shows the success of the work done on population dynamics. During mating the breeder has the opportunity to monitor many parameters:

 – areas of females grouping in preparation for mating,

– age of harem holder,

– number of hinds with the male in mating – harem (transmission quality of genetic

     trait, number of competitive males in mating, male exhaustion),

– course and intensity of mating (the time when most of the hinds areready to mate –

    calving dates),

– spatial distribution of dominant males, etc.

              Each of these parameters tells the wildlife manager a lot about population management and the possible changes in wildlife management measures to guide population dynamics. Directing population dynamics is possible if we are familiar with the attributes of the population we manage: density, abundance, competition, genetic capabilities, migration, dispersion on the surface of hunting grounds, etc.

              Mating is, like other physiological actions, conditioned by the presence or absence of certain hormones. In this case, it is the concentration of sex hormones in the blood. Sex hormones, weather (photoperiodism – the ratio of day and night length), etc., act as switches that, at the right time, cause the way each throat behaves, both during pre-mating and mating times.

              Factors affecting reproductive success:

– body size and antler development,

– parental investment of the female in calves,

– social organization of herds and dispersion in space (related to food sources),

– social relations between age and gender classes.

              “The success factors of the reproductive cycle usually divide males and females, so different adjustments have evolved separately, eg differences in body size, fitness, growth, metabolism, length of life and many other aspects of physiology.”

              Red deer species is a social herd species. Males and females live in sexually and spatially separated herds for most of the year. The composition of the herd of females is made up of females of all ages with or without calves, and is usually joined by two-year-old male or three-year-old males. The herd of females is strictly organized, there is a dominant female that other animals follow. The other female members of the herd are most often the daughters of the older leader female. A female’s life success is a product of her breeding success, her number of bred and raised calves. Entry into mating, calf size during calving, and survival of calves in Red deer is closely related to the female body weight. Body weight and physiological fitness are linked to the quantity and quality of food sources in the hind’s movement area. The area of ​​movement of the dominant hind is about 400 ha. On this surface, depending on the population size and the size of the herd of females and calves, females should find all the nutrients they need for their annual fairly tense energy budget (preparation for mating, mating, growth and development of the fetus, hair change, lactation). Because the life of a hind is relatively short, each calf she raises is a large part of her reproductive material, so she instinctively seeks to minimize the mortality of calves, the female often knows how to skip the reproductive cycle if she is not physiologically ready to invest in the calf. The first sign of mating start is to grouping of hinds and reduction of their area of ​​movement. They spend most of their time intensively grazing on meadows and other pastures and at the same time begin to emit a characteristic odor from the vulva area, whose intensity slowly increases over the days. The movement of the hind is getting weaker, so the radius of movement falls below one kilometer. The female could be characterized as passive, sedentary, she is waiting for a partner and is rational with energy consumption.

        Unlike a passive female, the male is active and it is a great energy consumer during mating. Males and females spend much of the year in herds with other animals. While the herd characteristic of female is cohesion that gives stability to the group, the male herd is a group of egocentric animals of a very loose organization. Reproductive success in males is closely related to their ability to fight, and this ability depends on their body size, strength, and the development of antlers (weapons). As antlers grow and develop, males stick together, but as they begin to finalize and clear their antlers, they slowly leave the herd. The main reason for this is the increased concentration of the male sex hormone (testosterone) in the blood, whose action increases, among other things, aggression (intolerance) against other males, and very often this aggression is demonstrated on vegetation. As the time of mating approaches, the stags from their usual range of movement, distribute themselves on the surface of the hunting ground and join the assembled hinds to the so-called roaring areas and becoming extremely intolerant of other males. Then the battle to preserve the harem’s stability begins in order to secure a monopoly for mating and in order for males to pass on its genetic material further. The frequency of males fighting is conditioned by the age structure of the males (competition) and the synchronization of ovulation at females. The struggles begin with approaching interested males, loud roaring, parallel walking and antler collision. The defeated male then retreats, the winner chases the defeted animal shortly and declares victory with a specific roar. The males stand near the hind, lick its preorbital glands or vulva, chase it through the harem, and eventually run a bite. Males jump several times before ejaculation, after ejaculation the deer male declines interest in that hind. The male, besides making a loud noise (roar) and monitoring the husk in his harem, lies on the roaring area, wet (extremely strong musky odor, urine mixed with sperm), damages vegetation, leaves marks by wiping the tear gland on vegetation or trees, sprouting ( mud rolling) etc. He performs all these activities near his harem, chart shows the actions and distance from the harem when performing these actions. After mating, the Stag that has actively participated in the mating is exhausted by mating, growling, fighting, maintaining the harem, etc., such a male can lose 20% to 30% of his body weight before mating. Such weight loss can also be devastating to the animal, so it is necessary to act with adequate food to physically store the throat for the most scarce season of winter.

                   The role of males in the reproductive cycle is complete, the growth and development of the fetus, calving, raising, daily feeding and care for the offspring, etc., all remain on the female / hind, so it is once again important to note that the selective shoot of the hind is extremely important because it drives the quality of calves and the quality of the future deer population in the hunting ground. Maiting is not just roaring, deer, harem etc. Maiting in the animal world means extending the species. Breeding and successful raising of young animals are two parameters by which we estimate the value of the population (permanent management). Equally successful raising the calves is important to the animals themselves, more specifically the females. Females are the ones who devote much of their lives to investing in calves, and we breeders, therefore, choose females according to this parameter. We choose which genetic material to pass on to the maximum number of calves during their lifetime. The genetic material of the animal that fails to mate is lost from the population and so such traits will disappear from the population. In contrast, the genetic material of the mating animal is continuously transmitted, so that it will slowly control the population.

AGE – DATA YOU NEED TO APPLY TO PRACTICE

                  Management of Red Deer and Roe Deer is regulated by a plan based on the determination of the spring fund and its sex / age composition, the estimate of the actual recruitment rate and the record of total population exploitation. The number and composition of the spring fund depends on the increase, loss and hunting. Therefore, it is necessary to correctly monitor the number of animals, recruitment rate, gender composition, age composition, trophy quality, body masses and the use of certain parts of the habitat / hunting area by the game – density of population. Recording, understanding and honestly accepting this data in hunting management means getting closer to the stated goal. Otherwise, it is difficult to keep track of what happens to the population, and the reality on the ground becomes different from what we imagine. The recruitment rate will be easiest to calculate in the late summer or early autumn when the number of females and the number of fawns or calves are easy to spot in the hunting area, thus obtaining the ratio of females and cubs. In the same way, observing during the whole year will determine the number and gender ratio of population. Population density can be estimated on the basis of observation, numbering of tracks, and graze preassure. Body mass and quality of trophies are the two parameters that we observe, monitor and evaluate their performance through age structure. Age determination  should be honest. Otherwise, things will be repeated and every year we will be beyond the set goals. When we talk about age in practice, one does not have to determine the exact number of years of life, but rather divide the population into several age groups. For the practice of wildlife management it will be enough to classify the animals in to the young class, in to the middle age class and in to the mature animals. Taking into account the particularities of each species in the spring season, the preferred ratio would be 50% young animals, 30% middle age animals and 20% of mature animals. Such an age structure would ensure continuity and sustainability of management, in terms of natural stability and continuous use of wildlife. Given that the quality of trophies, as a rule (depending on the welfare of habitats) grows with age, it is important to know in which age class is the shot animal, so that the plan can be corrected through the plans for the following years, all with the aim not to disturb the age structure.

      The age of shoot animals is estimate in several ways:

a) the skull parameters – pedicles (height, diameter and angle), forehead seams (dense and fused), nasal cavity and tips of nasal bones (long, pointed, tiny and short) and skull bone thickness (orbital part).

b) the change of dairy teeth to the constant and wear of the forearms and nipples of the lower jaw,

c) cutting the teeth – the first molar M1 is most often used as it immediately grows as a permanent tooth.

ROE DEER

It is sufficient – for practice of hunting management, to determine whether the age of the shoot animal is up to one year (fawn), two years (first true antlers), three to four years (second or third antlers) and five and more years. Roe deer is a species of great ecological valence, a pioneering species, meaning that it can live from the best to the most unusual habitats. But because of its pioneering nature, its success depends primarily on the habitat in which it lives. Maleantlers can vary from year to year and there is no proper growth and decline in trophy strength throughout the years (age). It is important to know that antlers  can not reveal age of Roe Buck.

RED DEER

For the practice of wildlife management, it is sufficient  to determine whether the age of the animal is up to one year (calf), two years (first antlers), three to five years, six to eight years and nine or more years of life. Whether an animal is the calf it is visible on the basis of physical development and whether it belongs to the the second year of life in males it is concluded on the basis of the absence of a coronal on the first antlers and the female on the basis of the age and development of the tooth. The age of the animals over the age of two and grouping in the age classes – that is based on the development of teeth and tooth decay M1 and the numbering of the age zones. For wildlife management it is sufficient Almasan’s tooth cutting method and aging. With several years of tooth cutting and comparing worn out results of the lower forearm teeth, it is possible to show how much these lower jaws are worn out by age.

RED DEER ANTLERS

The area of European Red Deer ​​distribution is a European continent. Apart from Europe, we find it in the northern part of Asia, where it meets the Asian Wapiti (Siberian, Altai, Manchurian) with which it is possible to cross breed. The main migration route from Asia to Europe and vice versa follows the flow of the Danube River. The Delta of the Danube at the entrance to the Black Sea can be characterized as the door leading deep into Central Europe. The habitats along the Danube River contain the richness of plant food sources that evolutionary processes led to become the most feasible to Red Deer. Such distant journeys are mainly taken by males as part of seasonal migration for mating. The architecture of Red Deer antlers can be either an offensive or defensive type or a combination of these two types. In a natural environment, evolution has favored the defensive antler features, while in rough natural conditions, strong within the species and cross-competitive competition, and a large number of predators, favored the offensive antler architecture. Thus the western and eastern type of Red Deer antlers commonly possesses the defensive antler structure, while deer in the windy Asia possess an extremely offensive antler structure. The boundaries of the widespread distribution of eastern and western European deer overlap the Balkan Peninsula, following the floodplains of the Danube River, which are also the migration path from the Black Sea into the heart of Europe. These two types are difficult to distinguish when  the only criterion are morphological characteristics of antlers. The morphology of antlers changes depending on the age of the animal, the intensity of management, nutrition, population density, etc. One will most accurately determine which type of deer it is when one looks at fully developed branches of adult full grown antlers. The Western type carries antlers that have a potentially large tendency of branching, but the length of branches is shorter than the total length of the branches in relation to the eastern tip. Fully developed horns of the Western type include long first tine, there is no second tine present at branch, third tine in low possition on the branch, with well-developed crowned crown. The second tine is often missing on one or both branches or the second tine is short, or just indicated as a button. Fully developed antlers of the Eastern type of Red deer males contain first and second tine approximately the same length, third tine is placed around the middle of the branch and  antlers are finishing with characteristic double crown (like two forks, 2×2 tines or 3X3 tines). The branch of antlers are longer than at the western type. In addition to these two types, we find at the Danube floodplain also wapitioid morphology of antlers. In the forest wapiti of “Altai Wapiti” (Cervus canadensis sibiricus), we encounter an extremely offensive morphology of antlers, a long first tine, even longer second tine, third tine in a center in the middle of the branch, and most often three (even more) tines in the so called crown. All tines are facing the interior of the antler branch, to be as dangerous as possible against the opponent. Namely, morphology of antlers is seen as an evolutionary weapon to intimidate opponents, minimize conflicts and minimize injuries caused by male clashes. The West and East type of Red Deer usually develop defensive weapons to protect themselves from the opponent. The most complex places for wounding during conflict is the head (primarily the eyes) and the neck. For a Western type, a well-developed crown holds at a distance threatening enemy opponent. While in the Eastern type the role of the eye shield was taken over by well-developed second tine. On the other hand, the wapitioid morphology of antlers is extremely attacking and attack can be used by all tines and even second tine that are often longer than the first tine. Bubenik (1982) states that in the survey in Osijek (Belje) he registered 23 Red Deer stags as one eye males and one completely blind male, and as a reason he noted insufficient development of the second tine of the eastern, maraloid type of deer. In order to select the animals that will continue to spread its genetic material, it is necessary to know the architecture of antlers and the possible development of antlers. Antlers, therefore carry genetic information as the Red Deer stag looks or will look like in the future.

FOG IN THE AREA OF BARANJA – STAGS IN THE MIST

FOG:

# is a meteorological phenomenon in the ground layer of the troposphere, a ground cloud of water droplets or ice crystals that are so tiny and light that they manage to float in the air. Fog is a dispersion of tiny droplets of water in the air that is so dense that horizontal visibility along the Earth’s surface is reduced to less than a kilometer. When the visibility is higher than a kilometer, it is a haze. If tiny ice crystals float instead of droplets, the fog is icy. Fog sometimes covers the landscape with a whitish veil; when mixed with dust or smoke it is slightly colored, predominantly yellowish.

# in Baranja it can mean only one thing – deer hunting during Roaring period. Arriving at night at the Roaring area, listening to where Stag is. The transition of night into the auroral fog, mixing the morning meadow scents with the scent of musk. Approaching by stalking, listening, there is a Stag and it is not visible jet. Anticipation if the Stag will be to  far enough away not to notice the approach, and yet close enough for a successful hunt, whether Stag will  stay in the meadow or retreat with the fog, where the hinds are! Usually in those last moments, the Stag falls silent – just before dawn – so you really don’t know anything! There are three options either Stag is gone or you will see Stag first or you will be noticed! And then you see the silhouette of a Stag in the transition from night to morning fog TERMLESS !

        If it is far for a successful hunt – you watch it in its full dominance as it raises dew from the grass with a sharp half-race, which at that moment turns into fog and creates the illusion of a Stag walking on a cloud. Since you are concentrating on that performance – “Bauu” is heard soon – the hind signals to the company that the show is over. But you have all day in front of you to prepare an approach strategy and analyze what just happen!

SOME OF MY STAGS

          The title of this dash denotes Red stags that have occurred during my previous work in hunting management. These are not all, nor is it possible to show them all, these are deer that meant something at some point, to me personally or meant to the hunting ground. However, one can see the diversity of antler architecture in the area of Slavonia and Baranja (eastern part of the Republic of Croatia). Floodplain valleys along large rivers are home to natural populations of red deer and are certainly one of the most attractive areas to experience Red Stag hunting during the SEPTEMBER STAG ROAR !!!

LAS VEGAS – SCI SHOW

                An event that everyone who is part of the world of hunting tourism should attend. There is a lot to see in those few days, and a lot can be learned with a little luck and of course with a person who is willing to help. “Welcome to the city of sin,” a familiar, unpretentious person greeted us: “Let’s go to dinner, so I’ll tell you what I’ve prepared for you.” Sales, sales, sales – everything is for sale, everything has its price and everything is a show. Booth is a show, every conversation is a show, meetings are a show, presentations are a show, auctions are a show – everything is a show.

            “Ah, you arrived, you Drazen, stay with me a bit, did you bring the catalogs, the pictures, the offers – why did you came to the show for. Go around and review the Red stag prices. ” Of course, I did not take that role so responsibly, but although the principal was dissatisfied with the performance, he did not take it so bad and my further residence did not suffer. You have to be very concentrated in order to achieve your goals – because there are so many things that distract you and all are attractive and interesting. Panoramas with animals, presentations, catalogs, hunting equipment, weapons, hunting tourism – terrible. And all that based in Las Vegas – it’s really hard to maintain concentration and focus on the goals you’re there for – but this is “SHOW.” The first day of the SCI show is over, let’s now take a look at the city. But it’s not walking – in Las Vegas, it’s a car ride across the street. A familiar face comes from our backs: “What’s up, guys, do you spend US Dollars like Croatian currency Kuna  / come on, I’ll take you out to dinner.” Again nothing of sightseeing, but the evening passed for me with an endless source of information that meant a lot to me in the field of hunting tourism.

            The second day I spent some time alone at our host`s Booth. He let me talk about selling with a few clients, but this time he did not hide his dissatisfaction:”so you really don’t know anything, so why didn’t you bring a measuring tape with you”, alluded to the way of selling at a trophy value that I tried to explain to clients who were used to a different form of sales. “Customize your products to the market you serve and the customers you serve, why do you think that they care about your points.”

        The last day we went to visit the Grand Canyon – that brought us back to the cowboy movies and helped to clear our minds before returning home.

Everything else that happened –  stay`s at Vegas!

VELEBIT

CHAPTER: VELEBIT

  For many years, Velebit was just an obstacle for me to cross in order to reach the Adriatic Sea for holidays. While my parents drove me by car – Velebit was synonymous with the painful ascent and descent full of big turns often accompanied by a feeling of nausea. Now after hunting on Velebit, I can’t wait to get back to Velebit! The harsh mountain and harsh landscape hides the wealth of wildlife, beautiful landscape and unique views.

               The goal was Chamois. We arrive at Gospic, settle into a hotel and the hunt starts in the morning. We’ve been together for a few days now and Chamois is the last in the list. The weather forecast  is rain, but the guide says the weather forecast means nothing in the mountain. Morning signifies movement up to the mountain. We packed up our gear and started. The very ambience after leaving the vehicle indicated that this hunt would be something different. Collision of the worlds – Mediterranean / Mountain / Continental. “How many chamois are there,” followed inquiry after about fifteen minutes’ walk, “the guide has no equipment,” followed statement. Along the way, we see a lot of roe deer, rock partridge  and fresh bear droppings “Hmmmm”. We walk through incredible monuments of nature, momentarily look at the sea, momentarily look at the continent.

             At one point, we see a Chamois male at a distance of about 600 m. Sunbathing, resting and controlling the females in the mountains. “There it is,” I say, “Yeah,” we need to get closer, says the hunter. We are now at 300 m “I’m not sure, let’s go closer”. But it does not go any closer – there is a path, but it needs to be climbed by sharp rocks, we go back, I say – we will try as it is. We come to a shootable location. The hunter sets in, and we wait for the shot and watch with the binoculars respond  reaction of the male after the shot. “What is the strength of the trophy,” the hunter question followed, looking at me, I nodded my head significantly. A shot follows, nothing, the male still stands. The second shot, the male disappears under a rock. I think it’s okay, let’s go, guide and I will take a look and the hunter will wait. The ascent to the chamois was difficult, dangerous and long – we climbed for almost 40 minutes. The guide finds Chamois at the very moment  when the hunter has visibly lost her patience and started to follows us up in to the mountain. I send the picture to the hunter, “It looks good, very good,” the hunter replies. We descend and we also brought the Chamois down. The hunter is pleased, – the shot list is full – it’s over!

                    Last glance at the sea and the island of Pag. I’m leaving with thoughts of going back!

NEW ZEALAND

NEW ZEALAND, that’s enough to write

                Not just as a hunting trip, New Zealand is a bit different from other parts of the world I know. That long flight by plane alone requires a persistent desire to visit this, yet remote, part of the world. But the arrival itself is different, the simple airport at QUENSTOWN, the easy procedure and the welcome reception of a familiar face with coffee. Easy access makes life easier. Quenstown, a scattered adrenaline town, a famous winter resort, but also the untamed wilderness of Mount Aspirig. “Im here for you in the morning, and tonight you go down to the city there are places where you can have fun ”- a recommendation from a well-known New Zealand hunter. Tired, after the flight, we are neither for sleep nor for fun, ok –  we go to get to know the city, or rather see where we are. There is a surprise in the morning – we fly by helicopter! There is no information just a schedule, “you sit forward, next to the pilot and when we jump out, do not go to the tail of the helicopter.” As he gave me the information, he stored the rifle on the floor of the helicopter – nothing was clear to me. Soon it didn’t matter – the view of the organized island was breathtaking. The wildlife in the mountains, farms, landscaped pastures and settlements overlap perfectly. Soon we entermountains, clouds, snow and unique landscapes – “hell garden” – he says. Suddenly, it was as if he had decided ” there they are  – we will jump out of here”. Who – where – but we’re in the middle of the mountains – I think. But it was like he said, “get out and don’t go to the tail of the helicopter”, I nodded and head for the tail of the helicopter! A hand on the collar and a objurgatory glance pinned me to the rock until the helicopter rose. “They are coming towards us – shoot”, so in all this turmoil the rifle was already loaded and in my hands. They are really coming, though the color is no different than the rocks – but  it is visible, I shoot, it disappears. “Where it is – did you get it – reload” – I confidently confirm that it is down (though after the shot I didn’t see it again, but it would make sense if it fell) and point the finger. The helicopter descends upon the Chamois and brings it to the rock to us. Here – I’m still under the impression.

          Afterwards we went to restaurants, forests, hunting grounds, deer game farms. We met people, culture, customs. I do not know if this is my impression, but very simple, practical people solve everyday life situations, solve problems that are important for their local community and for the positive functioning of their living community. “Guys – you need to know one thing – in one Country it is either a rich government or it is a rich people that inhabits the country”, with that we said goodbye to our host and flew home….

The story of logo design

The logo design represents two paws of European pine Marten labeled “WILDCRO” at the base of the logo. The company is headquartered in the continental part of the Republic of Croatia, formerly the Kingdom of Slavonia (15th century). The coat of arms of the kingdom from the end of the 15th century contains: in blue shield two transverse silver beams, representing the rivers Sava and Drava. Between the rivers is a red field, with European pine Marten turned to the right. Above is a six-pointed star (the designation of the god Mart (Mars), as a symbol of the great heroism of Slavonic nobles. Until then, the figure of the European Pine Marten was never used on the coat of arms, and it was significant for Slavonia at that time because the means of payment were precisely the skin of the European pine Marten, and later the name of the European pine Marten was taken over as the currency of payment in the territory of the Republic of Croatia. Confirmation that on the coat of arms is exactly the star of the god of Mars and the animal European Pine Marten is found in the words of the chronicler “and in the upper field is one star which we will call the Martian star, because of the continuous wars led by the mentioned Kingdom of Slavonia and its inhabitants … in the middle there is a European pine Marten, a beast as wild and belligerent as the god of war Mars himself.”

      The logo design is a blend of the tradition, culture and legends of the company headquarters region and the origin of the owner. The paws of the European pine Marten leading the way into the wilderness.