Hunters play an important role in wildlife conservation.
- Hunters help control wildlife populations at a healthy balance for the habitat.
- Hunters provide information from the field that wildlife managers need.
- Funding from hunting licenses has helped many game and non-game species recover from dwindling populations.
Wildlife managers use a variety of practices to manage a habitat and keep it in balance, including:
- Monitoring wildlife populations
- Improving habitats when an area changes
- Setting hunting regulations
- Allowing hunting to balance animal populations in a habitat
- Controlling predators
- Artificially stocking animals
- Controlling or preventing disease
- Initiating funding programs
To identify game properly, hunters must learn to recognize key characteristics of the animal being hunted. Knowing the key characteristics of animals will help hunters distinguish between similar species and between the male and female of the same species. Mistakes in identification can lead to illegal harvest of game or non-game animals.
To protect human health, hunters must correctly identify signs of dangerous wildlife diseases, including chronic wasting disease, hemorrhagic disease, lyme disease, rabies, and mange. Avoid contact with infected animals.
Wild animals are generally divided into five groups.
- Large mammals
- Small mammals
- Upland birds
- Waterfowl and wetland birds
- Birds of prey