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The resources in any given habitat can support only a certain quantity of wildlife. As seasons change, food, water, or cover may be in short supply. Carrying capacity is the number of animals the habitat can support all year long. The carrying capacity of a certain tract of land can vary from year to year. It can be changed by nature or humans.

Factors that limit the potential production of wildlife include:

  • Disease/parasites
  • Starvation
  • Predators
  • Pollution
  • Accidents
  • Old age
  • Hunting

Graphic showing factors that determine carrying capacity

If the conditions are balanced, game animals will produce a surplus, which can be harvested on an annual, sustainable basis.