Unsustainable hunting of terrestrial vertebrates in tropical forests is the most widespread form of non timber forest product resource extraction (Peres, 2000; 2001) and detrimental to targeted populations (Mittermeier, 1987). Mittermeier (1987) indicates that hunting can be more detrimental than habitat destruction, as it may cause local to regional population extinctions. Thiollay (1986) and Peres (1990) indicate that even small-scale subsistence hunting can result in marked population declines in largebodied birds and mammals; altering trophic levels, eventually affecting forest dynamics. Large terrestrial vertebrates play an important role in seed dispersal, predation (Peres & van Roosmalen, 1996), and herbivory (Dirzo & Miranda, 1991), factors impacting tree species distribution and forest structure modification.
Unlike other anthropogenic disturbance including deforestation, fragmentation, and forest degradation, over-hunted areas are impossible to be detected and mapped using conventional remote-sensing technology, thus its quantification remains a challenge. The presence of large trees and forest canopy does not guarantee the presence of native fauna (Redford, 1992). It is only possible to speculate on the observable decrease in densities (or relative abundance) of large-bodied terrestrial vertebrates (Peres 2001). Yet the effects of many anthropogenic disturbances operate synergistically; for example, in the Chiquibul Forest, hunting is an opportunistic activity undertaken by individuals involved in illegal logging and non-timber forest (xate) extraction. These activities alone may contribute significantly to a reduction of large-bodied terrestrial vertebrate densities due to habitat disturbance. The objectives of this study were to i) document and describe the diversity of terrestrial games species, ii) calculate encounter rates by species for each game species recorded, and iii) compare game species encounter rates with 2012 – 2013, and 2015-2016 survey.