Game monitoring is the continuous monitoring of the status of animal populations that may be hunted and the calculation of sustainable harvest quotas. The monitoring of wild game is organised and executed by the wildlife department of the Estonian Environment Agency.
Monitoring of wild game is necessary for acquiring a regular overview of species who are part of usable natural resources while they fulfil their important roles in our ecosystem. The result of monitoring wild game is an annual monitoring report covering all species of wild game and including harvesting proposals. The wildlife department carries out applied research on wild game, its main purposes being the improvement of monitoring results and more effective conservation and management of the population. The main exploiters of the results of wild game monitoring are hunting organisations and the Environmental Board.
The monitoring of game populations is carried out in cooperation with hunters who gather basic data by observing animals and collecting biosamples. The department collects and analyses data, evaluates changes in statuses, predicts population growth and makes proposals on the size, structure and spatial division of harvest quotas. The monitoring and research results are used for evaluating the causes of changes and drawing relevant conclusions. The harvesting proposals are prepared on the basis of the favourable conservation status criteria, with an attempt made to balance it with consideration to the interests of different interest groups (hunters, land owners, conservationists, and the general public). Applied research on game animals is organised and carried out in close cooperation with different Estonian and foreign research establishments.