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birds and animals caught by hunting, whose meat is consumed as food. In addition to meat, game provides down, feathers, pelts, and horn. According to the hunting classification, birds are considered feathered game and animals, quadruped game. The feathered game is divided in terms of habitat into forest or wood game (for example, the hazel hen, willow grouse, black grouse, ptarmigan, capercaillie, and pheasant), field and steppe game (for example, the common and Daurian partridges, quail, little bustard, great bustard, demoiselle crane, and sand grouse), and waterfowl (for example, ducks, geese, and swans). Other classifications are swamp game (the order Charadriiformes, including woodcock, snipe, great snipe, and jack snipe) and mountain game (for example, the rock partridge and snow cock). Quadruped game includes hares and the numerous species of wild ungulates, including deer, steppe and mountain antelope, mountain goats, mountain sheep, and wild boar.
Approximately 50 million birds and animals belonging to various categories of game are caught in the USSR every year. Waterfowl are the most widely hunted type of feathered game. They are heavily distributed on the inland bodies of water of the nation and on the islands of the Arctic and Pacific oceans. In the 1960’s the annual catch of waterfowl was 25-30 million birds, and the main hunting regions were Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, and the coastal regions and bays of the White, Baltic, Black, Caspian, and Aral seas. In the forest and forest-steppe zones of the European USSR and Western and Eastern Siberia, 12-15 million wood birds are caught annually, and in the European USSR, Western Siberia, and Kazakhstan approximately 3 million swamp birds (woodcocks) are shot annually. Approximately 1 million steppe birds are killed annually in the virgin steppes of Kazakhstan and Transbaikalia. A small number of mountain birds (rock partridge and snow partridge) are shot in the Caucasus, Kopetdag, Tien-Shan, and Altai mountains. Many rare species of feathered game (for example, swans, redbreasted geese, flamingos, black cranes, white cranes, and bustards), are protected, and the hunting of them has been temporarily prohibited. The meat of feathered game is a highly nutritional dietary product.
Of the quadruped game, hares and many species of wild Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates) are hunted in the USSR. Each year 5-6 million hares are caught. Wild Artiodactyla are first-class (so-called big) game. As a result of the measure to establish hunting seasons and limits and the work to acclimatize and reacclimatize animals, by 1972 the number of wild ungulates had risen to 5-6 million head, of which approximately 400,000 were shot each year by hunters. In the tundra, the forest tundra, and a significant portion of the taiga, wild reindeer are hunted, and up to 30,000 head per year are shot. In the forest and forest-steppe zones elk are hunted (annual catch, 30,000-35,000 head). Red deer (for example, the European deer) are hunted in the European USSR, the maral in the Altai and the southern part of Eastern Siberia, the maral and Manchurian wapiti in the Far East, and the roe deer in the forest zone of the European USSR, in Siberia, and in the Far East.
Musk deer, a small hornless species, have been successfully raised in the Altai and Saian mountains, Eastern Siberia, and the southern part of the Primor’e. Axis deer are being raised with success in the southern Primor’e, and hunting of them has been temporarily prohibited. (There are approximately 40,000 head of axis deer in the USSR.) The saiga is hunted on the steppes and deserts of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan. As a result of conservation measures, the number of this species has risen to 1.2 million head (annual catch, 200,000-250,000 head). Other species of antelope, such as the goral, which inhabits the mountains of the Primor’e, the Mongolian gazelle (Transbaikal steppes), the goitered gazelle (steppes of Middle Asia and Transcaucasia), and the chamois (the Caucasus), are rather rare game, the hunting of which has been temporarily prohibited.
Wild boar are hunted in the central regions of the European USSR, in the Baltic republics, the Ukraine, the Caucasus, Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, the Far East, the Altai and Saian mountains, and the Primor’e. The annual kill is 30,000-35,000 wild boars. The most widely hunted of the wild goats is the Siberian ibex, which inhabits the Tien-Shan, Altai, and Saian mountains. The hunting of other species of wild goat (the Caucasian tur, wild goat, and markhor) has been temporarily prohibited in a majority of regions. Wild sheep were hunted in the mountains of Middle Asia, the Altai, Kamchatka, and Transcaucasia, but the hunting of them has also been temporarily prohibited in order to build up the herds.
The meat of wild deer, antelopes, and other ungulates surpasses the meat of domesticated animals in nutritional value. The skins provide excellent leather and suede. Pantokrin (a liquid extract) is produced from the nonossified antlers of the axis deer, the maral, and the Manchurian wapiti. Cabargine musk is used in medicinal and cosmetic preparations. The horn of wild ungulates is used in decorations and souvenirs.
The USSR is first in the world in terms of its reserves of game. In all countries in the world, game is considered national property, and the state controls its conservation, rational use, and extended reproduction. The catching of game is regulated by the hunting seasons and rules established by the state wildlife management bodies. Various species of game are being resettled for the purpose of enriching the hunting fauna.
In the nations of Western Europe annual kills of the mass species of game include more than 70,000 elk, 140,000-150,000 red deer, more than 1 million roe deer, more than 100,000 wild boars, up to 10 million hares, up to 2 million common partridges, more than 5 million pheasants, and more than 15 million ducks. In the USA and Canada, a number of mass species of game are hunted and killed annually (the American white- and black-tailed deer, wapiti, wild rabbit, ruffed grouse, Virginia quail, pheasants, and partridges). Like the European nations, Canada and the USA have extensive commercial raising of feathered game on farms, including pheasants, partridges, mallards, and rock partridges. The young birds are released in natural surroundings to mature. The problems of raising and conserving game have become part of the program of the international congresses of wildlife biologists, whose tenth congress was held in 1971 in Paris.
V. G. GAVRIN