a system that provides for the rational use of natural resources. Game management ensures the availability of wildlife for the purpose of obtaining the maximum quantity of game products. At the same time, game management maintains a stable wildlife population that best ensures the survival of each species.
In the USSR, game management is the sector of the national economy that oversees the use, conservation, and replenishment of the state game resources. The fur trade played a large role in the economy of prerevolutionary Russia, and the wildlife was rapaciously exploited. Many animal species, including the beaver, sable, marten, northern fur seal, sea otter, elk, saiga, and red deer, were on the verge of extinction.
In the USSR much has been done since the first years of Soviet power to replenish wildlife numbers and to use game resources most efficiently. To supplement important legislative acts and administrative decrees (Hunting Decree, 1919; Hunting Regulations: Seasons and Methods, 1922), new laws were adopted concerning the use of game resources. Hunting seasons and methods were defined, taking into account geographic and seasonal features of the reproduction of animals and birds. Since 1935, hunting seasons have varied in accordance with annual forecasts of the number of game. The use of dangerous methods of hunting is prohibited, as is the catching of useful animals during breeding periods and before their young are weaned. Preserves, seasonal hunting grounds, and special farms have been organized to protect valuable species of wild animals. The supply and purchase of fur and game are now planned, and uniform prices and government standards have been introduced for game products. The Central Union of Consumer’s Societies of the USSR is the principal supplier of fur and other game products. Game management is an independent sector of the national economy.
The present stage in the development of game management is the result of the plan set forth in 1959 by the Council of Ministers of the USSR in the decree On Measures for Improving Game Management. The use of hunting gounds and the construction of game farms are under the supervision of official organizations. More than 1 billion hectares of hunting grounds are attached to state, cooperative, and public organizations. There are three principal types of game farms in the USSR. State and cooperative commercial game farms and commercial sovkhozes and kolkhozes of the North (tundra-taiga zone) are the principal suppliers of fur and game. State game preserve-farms elaborate and institute scientific forms of game management, protect and propagate valuable commercial animals for resettlement in new regions, and supply fur and game. Sport hunting preserves (unions of societies of hunters and fishermen, the All-Army Military Hunting Society, and the Dynamo Society) aim to interest the public in hunting for sport and in cooperating with distributors in fulfilling state plans for the stocking of furs and game. In 1973, unions of societies of hunters and fishermen had a total membership of more than 2.5 million. Sport hunting preserves are concerned not only with hunting game but also with implementing necessary biotechnical measures at hunting grounds. Game preserves annually supply distributors with nearly 50 million pelts, nearly 20,000 tons of flesh from wild ungulates, and nearly 800,000 carcasses of wild birds. They also supply such materials as ungulate hides, plumage, down, and antlers in the velvet.
The network of hunting grounds is expanding, and their work is intensifying. More game is available as a result of land reclamation, the introduction of new valuable species of wild animals, wildlife raising, selection of animals in nature, and the restricted exploitation of certain populations.
In most countries outside the USSR, game management is not an independent economic sector but is considered a branch of agriculture or forest management. In socialist countries, game management is supervised by government organs (the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Czechoslovakia, Ministry of Forestry and Lumber Industry in Poland, Committee on Forestry in the German Democratic Republic). Game management in forests is usually the responsibility of foresters with special hunting-science training. Hunting grounds are distributed among state farms and hunting societies. All hunters must be members of a hunting society. State hunting areas are usually located in forests and are managed by forest rangers. Hunting societies may lease state hunting grounds for a fee but are obligated to carry through certain biotechnical measures. In capitalist countries, hunting grounds are predominantly private tracts of land that are leased to hunting societies or that are accessible to individuals who have paid a licensing fee.
REFERENCESDanilov, D. N. Okhotnich’e khoziaistvo SSSR. Moscow, 1963.
Malinovskii, A. V. Okhotnich’e khoziaistvo evropeiskikh sotsialistiches-kikh stran. Moscow, 1973.
B. N. BOGDANOV