Ground nesting game birds are at their most vulnerable during the breeding season. Predation at the nest has a far more profound effect on the population than predation at any other time of the year.
We must remember however, that predators are not responsible for the drastic reduction in native game bird populations. In its proper context, it is only a tool and only one part of the game management equation.
In Ireland wild game bird populations were at their highest during the 19th century, when predator control was non-existent. This gives us a truer picture of what really effects game. The loss of habitat for wild game and therefore the loss of wild game populations were caused by man’s activities, particularly over the past 60 years, rather than any activity by predators.
That said however, today’s countryside is completely different than it was when wild game thrived.
To be effective predator control should be undertaken when it confers the greatest benefit to game: mainly spring and early summer. Predators of game are territorial during these periods.