• Model to Evaluate Potential Production and Income Responses of Reindeer Herds under Different Management Strategies

      Finstad, G.L.; Prichard, A.K. (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1999-10)
      Free-range reindeer in western Alaska are managed for both velvet antler and meat production. Optimal management should maximize the income generated from both meat and antler production while managing the herd at levels below the carrying capacity of the range. Meat production precludes future antler production from harvested animals, therefore harvest decisions should reflect antler and body growth rates, current antler and meat prices, natural survival rates, and population demographics. We present a user-friendly computer model to generate estimates of net income under different harvest levels and market conditions. Input variables include sex- and agespecific survival rates, harvest levels, castration rates, antler weights, body weights, and recapture rates, as well as reproductive rates, fixed and variable costs, antler price, and meat price. Mark—Recapture analysis was used to estimate survival rates. The model was calibrated using reindeer herd records from 1984-1997. Output includes changes in herd size and composition over a thirty-year period, meat production, antler production, female: male ratio, and predicted net income. The model illustrates the sensitivity of herd size to female adult survival rates.