Through a tripartite agreement adopted at the end of 2013, the National Hunting and Wild Animals Office (ONCFS), the François Sommer Foundation and the National Estate of Chambord defined and committed themselves to a 10-year global scientific program aimed at modeling the demography of two key species, the deer and the wild boar, by pinpointing the role of hunting and hunting strategies as regards functioning, reproduction, survival and mortality (compensatory/decompensatory).
Few scientific works in European countries are presently dedicated to the theme of hunting as the essential tool in rational and sustainable management of ungulate populations, in a context where the latter are undergoing a generalized phase of expansion.
The program involves the following centers of interest:
This project consists in modeling the demographic functioning of the hunted population and of devising methods to monitor fluctuations in numbers. In this study of dynamics, emphasis will be laid on environmental conditions (climate, fruit forming in forests, and inputs) and hunting practices. Given the life expectancy of an aged wild boar, the operations will be pursued for at least ten years.
This program likewise consists in modeling the demographic functioning of a hunted population and the establishment of management indicators. It is largely premised on determination of the main parameters of the dynamics (reproduction and survival in the different age brackets).
- Hunting pressure and effectiveness
The reduction of the number of hunters in France and the concomitant increase in the number of wild ungulates underlines a need to more painstakingly monitor animal populations and to pay closer attention to sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Chambord could use its competence in the organization of hunting as a lever for the development of new hunting techniques. For example, it would be interesting to compare the relative efficacy of ambush hunting operations (battues) with and without instructions according to several variables (the sparing of breeding sows, of big sows, etc.). The impact over time on population dynamics would be tested and modeled.
 Estimation of the relevant demographic parameters (reproductive or breeding success and survival of the two sexes) will be necessary, and specific operations will be carried out for that purpose (branding; subsequent recovery of wild boars of all ages, whether alive or dead; examination of the animals killed during hunting). The branding of 100 individuals per sex and per year could constitute an initial objective.
2] The capacity of Chambord to organize capture operations during the winter will be conducive to the yearly branding of males and females of all ages. The objective is to leave unhunted a minority (10 to 25%) of the population in view of comparing that segment with the hunted population; with this in mind, animals of known age will be fitted with systems readable from a distance. All the other animals will be equipped with discreet visual systems designed to measure the impact of hunting. One focus of the program could be the habitat of red deer (cervus elaphus), the objective being to obtain an estimate of the dimensions of its home range (deployment of some GPS/GSM collars) and, as a priority, to gather information on the genetic origins of deer in Chambord.