At the meeting of the Society for American Archeology this week, two University of Cincinnati professors, Jeremy Koster and Ken Tankersley, presented their results of research into hunting dogs in lowland Nicaragua.
The indigenous communities of the Mayangna and the Miskito in Nicaragua survive on subsistence hunting in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. The reserve is part of the largest unbroken tracts of neotropical rainforest in Central America, north of the Amazon. 85% of the mammals that are hunted are caught with the assistance of dogs.
The research team found that as both male and female dogs reach three years of age, they tend to increase their hunting success. Older, male and female dogs in the study population returned more game to their owners than did younger dogs.
Bigger dogs are able to track and corral bigger prey, which increases their hunting return rates. Since male dogs are generally larger than females, the males had the greater success rates.
As far as sustainability is concerned, the researchers found that dogs are more suited to wildlife sustainability than other hunting options available. Hunters with firearms tend to disproportionately hunt prey that lives in trees, including slow-breeding primates. Hunters with dogs tend to harvest relatively fast-breeding animals such as agoutis, pacas and armadillos.
Their main conclusion: With age comes greater success!
(Let’s hope the same applies to us; I could use all the help I can get :))