Is hunting really a conservation tool?

A new UW-Madison study upends central notion about predator management


May 10, 2016

6:00 PM

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4 thoughts on “Is hunting really a conservation tool?

  1. Pingback: Is hunting really a conservation tool? — Exposing the Big Game |

  2. Hunters debated and worried that Cecil the lion poaching incident (July 1, 2015) in Zimbabwe will negatively affect public attitudes toward “ethical hunting” and their dwindling “sport”. Actually, the unethical, non legal, unsporting killing of Cecil the lion brought to light the nature of hunting and trophy hunting. It was a catalyst for the public to take a look. Hunting is quite simply the recreational killing of wildlife. It is not a wholesome thing to do for man or wildlife. In the case of some animals, like the African lion, it is killing a diminishing species. It also brought to light the myths of hunting as conservation and the economics of wildlife killing over wildlife viewing. Hunting is a primitive and barbaric pastime, not a sport, sporting, nor ethical. There is no such thing as ethical killing of wildlife for fun; no such thing as sporting and ethical game farming in the wild or on game farms for recreational killing. Hunting leads to game farming in one form or another and a distortion in wildlife balanced ecology, a balance of apex predators in the natural wild and trophic cascades. Wildlife viewing is more valuable than wildlife killing, and healthier for man and the wild. Regarding the claim by trophy hunters about the economic benefit to African economies (hunter rationalization mythology) of their “sport”, trophy hunting contributes no more than (.27%) of GDP and no more than 1,8% of tourism. Wildlife viewing safaris is far better for economies and wildlife.

    Man considers himself an apex predator, not because of tooth or claw or super strength or super senses, speed and cunning, but because of an arsenal of tools (weapons) and intelligence. He likes the image of himself as apex animal, but without his weapons and protective clothing he is puny and not a competitive apex predator and may become the prey.

    Man presents as more as a harmful trophic cascade effect (harmful apex predator) than a natural healthful trophic cascade effect. He (man) really could be viewed as a parasite on the wild, something harmful that stands outside the wild since the dawn of civilization and his declaration of war on wildlife. With his pollution, destruction of biodiversity, destruction of wildlife habitat he may even be classified as a disease (departure from health) to the earth, and the earth would be better off without man. Mankind was not even a healthful apex predator when he was a subsistence hunter. Hunters are not true conservationists nor are most state wildlife agencies, in that they destroy natural trophic cascade ecology and in effect game farm. Wildlife agencies like to manage through hunting, but it is neither management nor conservation. Hunting, trophy hunting, trapping are primitive and barbaric, parasitic activities. They are harmful profiteering of and recreational killing of wildlife and a disruption of healthful trophic cascade ecology and biodiversity.


    Killing Wolves: A Hunter-Led War Against Science and Wildlife

    The War on Wildlife Trade | PERC – The Property and … 8, 2014 – The War on Wildlife Trade …

    Killing Wolves: A Hunter-Led War Against Science and Wildlife
    US dentist accused of killing Cecil the lion ‘upset’ as hunter … › World › ZimbabweThe Guardian
    Jul 28, 2015

    U.S. dentist wanted for killing Cecil the lion –
    Jul 28, 2015 – (CNN)

    How outrage over Cecil the lion killing misses … – Aug 3, 2015

    Apex Predators- their impact and importance.…apex-predators.

    RDH 08/23/2015

  3. Hunters Conservationists Not
    “Hunters Lead War on Wildlife”: And I would add ranchers and wildlife agencies, extraction industries and developers and outfitter organizations, and “sportsmen’s” organizations, i.e. Safari Club, Montana Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Hunters and trappers have been calling themselves conservationists lately a lot it seems. Hunters create a distortion in wildlife ecology that is not natural. Hunting and trapping are no longer natural. Killing wildlife for fun is not a sport and is not healthy behavior. Hunters often cite early conservationists and early efforts to save game species (birds and ungulate herds) and fishes and on-going efforts to save game animals (killing targets for sportsmen). Some early “hunter-trapper conservationists” of considerable note were early pioneers in conservation in some forms of conservation: Teddy Roosevelt was one and he also founded numerous national parks and wildlife refuges to protect wildlife, safe haven in from hunter-trapper sportsmen. Aldo Leopold was one, an avid hunter, and naturalist, who became more enlightened about protecting the wolf, a few on the landscape anyway, and other predators and their place in the ecology. George Grinnell was one and also founded national parks including Glacier. I have met and know some hunters that like a balanced ecology of predators and prey, a true wilderness in which to hunt, and who disagree with trophy hunting and are even disgusted by it– and one who compares killing wolves to shooting his neighbor’s German Shepherd. But such hunter-sportsmen are far from often on the landscape; most have a very irrational, uninformed, visceral hate of wolves in particular and predators in general and want to minimize, marginalize, or exterminate them and essentially farm ungulates and game birds; as Aldo Leopold once did. Some even hate raptors who take “their” birds and “their” fish, as they view ungulates as “their” elk or deer. Most sportsmen and state wildlife agencies, it seems, want to marginalize the main predators (wolf, lion, grizzly). Nebraska only has about 70 cougars yet is embarking on a vigorous “management” campaign, as is SD with only 170 cougars. Alaska is allowing the killing of wolves just outside national parks; Denali National Park has loss 2/3 of it’s’ wolves, negatively affecting wolf watching opportunities. Since wolves have been turned over to state “management” at least 2700 wolves have been killed plus another 3435 by the rogue USDA Wildlife Services which kills 3-4 million animals a year in the name of control. Organizations of sportsmen such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has given money, $25,000 to MT FWP for wolf “management”, has offered bounties and cooperative agreements with agencies for wolf killing; and the Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife recently donated $15,000 to Wildlife Services USDA, the renegade killing wildlife agency. Sportsmen organizations are silent on predators if not unashamedly hostile, but loud on protecting and farming game species. There are wildlife killing contests going on all over the USA and in some places, like TX, weekly. Hunters even call these killing contests conservation, killing coyotes for instance to save deer. States like ID-MT-WY-WI-MI have vigorous unscientific, political drive down the wolf population policies: trapping, extended seasons, and liberal kill policies year around. In 2014 hunters in WI are allowed to use dogs and killed 65 wolves in 4 days. Much of this wildlife killing is done by trapping, a barbaric, horrendous way to kill and mostly unjustified. Trapping on public land is done for “recreational” sports and profit killing, the fur trade, trophies, with little regard for ecology and the interests of the general public, wildlife viewing, safety of the general public, and it takes a large toll in collateral damage to non-targeted animals, and is overly touted as need to control. There is some need for handling “nuisance animals” but the notion is abused with too little evaluation of the need, too little scientific management and too much good old boy political management, too little nonlethal means used; basically trapping is such a barbaric, inherently cruel means of “management” that it should be under tight scrutiny with a public panel oversight and used only by wildlife agencies sparingly. Trapping and hunting is really profiteering on wildlife as a renewable resource. There are around 7000 trappers in Montana alone doing it mostly for personal gain from the fur trade. In the case of killing African wildlife for big bucks, trophy hunters are not conservationists. LIon populations are down 40%. An elephant is killed about every hour. Rhino numbers are way down. We should just stop trophy hunting at all in Africa and USA; stop animal parts imports. Walter Palmer the lion poacher, killer of Cecil the lion, should be fined and maybe even jailed by Zimbabwe and barred from the country and probably from even hunting



    Wolves do not purchase hunting licenses, and most state wildlife managers draw their pay from revenue derived from sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. That, in brief, is what is wrong with wildlife management in America….Ted Williams, 1986

    “To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul.” Aldo Leopold

    “Whenever and wherever men have engaged in the mindless slaughter of animals (including other men), they have often attempted to justify their acts by attributing the most vicious or revolting qualities to those they would destroy; and the less reason there is for the slaughter, the greater the campaign for vilification.”

    ― Farley Mowat, naturalist, conservationist and author

  4. When I saw the title of this blog, I was all ready to get started. Then I read Roger’s excellent assessment and decided I had nothing much to add. I’ll just mention Aldo Leopold’s statement of regret after killing a wolf: “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes–something known only to her and to the mountain.

    I wish all hunters could have such an epiphany.

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