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To some hunting may seem counter-intuitive. Wildlife is highly-appreciated, and our state and federal governments spend countless dollars to care for and manage it. But then, why is it necessary to remove wildlife from places they live and how does hunting benefit wildlife? The reason we hunt begins with a deep underpinning in history and a model termed the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was created in the 1930s when many species of wildlife were in tough shape due to habitat loss and unregulated hunting. The goal of the model is to protect wildlife through managing it. Management, through regulating hunting based on science, helps to prevent overpopulation that can lead to disease, starvation and damage to the habitat. Hunting removes the excess animals the landscape cannot support, provides high quality outdoor experiences and provides a healthy human food source. It also ensures equal access to wildlife resources. The connection to the outdoors that comes from hunting is real and hard to describe by those hunters who chose to participate.  Many say their experiences hunting are more about creating memories with their families than any other value.

One of the key tenets is those who valued wildlife the most should be charged with paying for and managing it; that means conservationists are hunters. Conservationists saw managing wildlife and habitat required financial resources. For nearly a century now, hunters (and anglers) through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses, have been paying for and helping to manage populations to ensure their perpetual health and viability for future generations. The money generated from hunting is used to improve wildlife habitats, monitor and improve populations, pays for wildlife protection and ensures laws and regulations are followed.

 

Brian Nesvik
Chief Game Warden

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