HUNTING & LYNX
A new hunting companion
The lynx had disappeared from the Thuringian Forest for more than 150 years. There is no doubt that its return is associated with questions. How will the return of the lynx affect the hoofed game population? What is the lynx’s main prey? What influence does the lynx have on the behavior of its prey? Will the presence of the lynx in the hunting area make it more difficult to hunt? What will happen to the mouflon populations in the Thuringian Forest?
It is important to note, however, that there are no universal answers to all questions because the lynx is only one factor in an ecological system consisting of forest structure, climatic conditions, prey density, the presence of other predators, especially the wolf, and many other factors. Some of the questions will, therefore, only be answered in the course of the project. Nevertheless, with the knowledge from the European areas where the lynx was never exterminated and based on the experience of hunters from the regions of Germany where the lynx has been reintroduced, it is possible to evaluate which side effects the return of the lynx to Thuringia might be associated with.
In the forest areas of Central Europe, deer are the lynx’s main prey. In many areas, however, young red deer are also on the menu. On average, a lynx kills about one ungulate (roe deer, red deer) per week, but there is no reason to fear that the lynx will “eat away the deer in the hunting area.” Lynx are territorial animals with large hunting ranges (5,000 – 40,000 ha). As ambush hunters, they rely on the element of surprise. Therefore, they usually change their location over a large area after a successful kill to encounter unwary prey.
In order to explicitly investigate the effects of the return of the lynx on the hoofed game population in the Thuringian Forest, the project is accompanied by systematic hoofed game monitoring, which should provide objective figures and a sound basis for discussion.
Information on the role of the State Hunting Association in the Lynx Thuringia project can be found here.