Pine marten is a typical representative of forest fauna, an integral part of forest biocenosis as well as a valuable hunting animal, which gives a valuable fur, similar to sable.
Since the martens are not bred on fur farms, the hunting industry remains the only source of supply of this type of fur for the market. With balanced forest management, marten preserves the optimal population.
The aim of the study is to learn the patterns of distribution, the dynamics of the population and the status of the use of pine marten resources in the Lviv region and to give recommendations on assessing the quality of hunting grounds, more rational ways and conditions for hunting for this species and improve the existing regulatory legal documents.
Materials and Methods
The methods used to study terrestrial vertebrate animals on footprints in the snow were applied. Accounting way was more than 800 kilometers long. Hunters and hunting staff of Lviv region were interviewed. The personal long-term experience in work in hunting ventures of the region and in marten hunting was used.
Pine marten is found in the territory of all natural areas and administrative districts of the Lviv region, but the species distribution is limited to a forest. The permanent stay of the animal on the territory of the region is recorded in forests with an area of at least 200 hectares. In small forests, it lives very rarely. The best places for pine marten life are old forests with a lot of dry and fallen trees. Good places for martens are medieval deciduous and mixed forests with aspen (Populus tremula) and spruce (Picea abies). The author proposes the classification of hunting grounds for this species. The basis is the protective properties of the terrain, which are the best in the old forests.
In the Lviv region, there were about 4 thousand martens at the beginning of the hunting season of 2016–2017 and 3.3 thousand at the end of it. During the last decade, the share of official hunting of this species in the region was insignificant, only 4–5 %. With the proper organization of the hunting economy in the forest lands of the region without damage to the population, it is possible to extract about 1,000 individuals of the species. However, the resources of this valuable fur-bearing animal are mainly used by poachers. According to the author, there are two ways to legalize hunting for martens and increase the amount of legal use of resources of the species: i) In the region it is necessary to increase the number of dogs for hunting this animal, for this it is necessary to develop selection of dogs for marten hunting; ii) To make changes in the current legislation and to allow hunting with self-activating traps corresponding to the International standards of a humane capture of wild animals.
It has been established that the marten lives mainly in large and old forests. The number of animals before the hunting season is estimated at 4,000 individuals. However, the resources of the animal are not fully exploited and exploited mainly illegally. To increase the amount of legal pine marten hunting in the region, it is necessary to increase the number of hunting dogs for this species, to amend the current legislation and to allow hunting with traps that meet International standards.
1 Figs., 3 Tables, 24 Refs.