What is Conservation, and How
Do Hunters Help?
Think about the impact humans have had on wildlife. Before any humans occupied the North American continent, the laws of nature controlled wild animals. Humans changed that by taking the land to use for our own purposes. When we build houses, shopping centers, or offices (a process called urbanization), we change the carrying capacity of the land. When we farm, ranch, mine, log, or build roads we also change the carrying capacity. When we change the carrying capacity, we affect the number and types of wildlife than can live on that land. Hunting, too, has an effect on wildlife populations.
Of course, not all human activity is necessarily bad for wildlife. As we have seen, we’ve learned how to manage some wildlife populations successfully so that these animals can live side by side with humans—as long as humans are willing to follow the principles of conservation.
Conservation is the responsible care and management of wildlife. It means that we think about the possible effects of our actions on wildlife and that we act in such a way that animal populations are able to grow and sustain themselves.
Most hunters are conservationists. They understand their role as not only top “predator,” but also as the only predator that can intentionally help their prey through conservation efforts. Hunters contribute time and money to projects that benefit wildlife and wildlife habitat. They join wildlife conservation organizations. When they hunt they obey laws and regulations.
The Hunter's Role in Wildlife Conservation
Since wildlife is a renewable resource with a surplus, hunters help control wildlife populations at a healthy balance for the habitat. Regulated hunting has never led to threatened or endangered wildlife populations.
Hunting is an effective wildlife management tool. Hunters play an important role by providing the information from the field that wildlife managers need.
Funding from hunting licenses has helped many game and non-game species recover from dwindling populations.