I'm running a Session where my players spend long times on their own in woods / planes (etc.) and need to feed themselves from their surroundings. So I wrote a hunting / gathering program that determinate what animals / plants etc. are in the region and how likely it is for the hunting party to find them in a given situation. I filter on the season, climate, terrain type, etc.

So, on my first shot I just guessed about the most common stuff I could think about. Then I read some hunting books (of recent date) and found out that I was completely wrong in about everything.

So now I'm looking for resources on how likely it is to meet defined animals / plants etc.

Anyone know some good resources for that? (I am totally willing to spend some time with the analysis and interpretation of the data. If you have resources that are 'near' what I search, please give them too.)

I would prefer online or other digital resources but I take anything else as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth noting that getting this kind of information is an excruciating amount of work, the sort that biologists and environmental scientists devote entire lifetime careers to discovering, possible for only one species. For a game, going with made-up data that "feels" right is likely a suitable amount of GM effort, given that players will likely never notice the difference. Also, real chances of meeting animals might (maybe?) actually not be very gameable chances, and made-up chances might make for a better-paced play experience. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2012 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Yeah, I know. In fact I'm surprised I didn't find the works of them people, at least a little. (But a lot of GMing is if taken serious a science. Think about names for people in a given culture. Or the hardware in any scifi game. Or even getting armor and weapons correct in any medieval / fantasy genre. So, thats not a downer to me :)) And just guessing it would be ... I don't know ... not my style. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2012 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm certainly not going to say "don't do that" if that's what makes GMing fun for you. :D I just wanted to be sure you were going after this deliberately, not naïvely. Have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2012 at 20:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about real-world research on animal and plant populations. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


Wilderness Survival.net, for basics of survival and techniques.

Surviving in the Wild: 19 Common Edible Plants, good for understanding the right and wrong types of flora

Population density estimates of some species of wild ungulates in Simanjiro plains, northern Tanzania
Wildlife Management: Estimating Wildlife Populations
are papers about population densities of animals and estimating a population of a species, which you should be able to work backwards.

This may help you research more fully.

  • \$\begingroup\$ We hope it helps. \$\endgroup\$
    – LordVreeg
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 21:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot that were the data points I was looking for. I think I can continue my research now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 24, 2012 at 7:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Other useful information could come from wildlife management agencies (which regulate hunting, fishing, and trapping). Their business is to have a pretty good idea how many deer, bears, rabbits, trout, etc. are in a given region at a given time -- information they derive in large part (for big game) from mandatory harvest reports ("deer tags" have as their primary purpose validating the count of animals killed by hunters). I can tell you from experience that, in an area chronically "overpopulated" with whitetail deer, several days of hunting can leave one without so much as sight of a deer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 0:24

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