The North American Model of Fish and Wildlife Conservation
In the mid-19th century, hunters began to realize the importance of wildlife conservation. Then, in the first two decades of the 20th century, sportsmen from the United States and Canada started developing a set of guiding principles for managing wildlife resources. Called the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, these seven principles continue to evolve today and provide the foundation for the success of fish and wildlife conservation in North America.
- Wildlife is held in trust for the public. No one owns wildlife. Instead, the government holds this resource in trust for the benefit of all people.
- The selling and trading of wildlife is controlled. State and federal laws regulate the sale of dead game animals and migratory birds, including their parts and products.
- Laws and regulations determine how wildlife is allocated. Policies set by lawmakers, with input from the general public, regulate not only access to wildlife but also how wildlife may be used.
- The reasons for killing wildlife must be valid. Wildlife can be killed only for legitimate purposes—for food and fur, in self-defense, or for protection of property.
- Wildlife is an international resource. As such, hunting and fishing shall be managed cooperatively across state and province boundaries.
- Science plays a key role in managing wildlife. Decisions regarding wildlife management, use, and conservation are based on sound scientific knowledge and principles.
- Opportunities for hunting, fishing, and trapping shall be democratic. Every citizen in good standing—regardless of wealth, social standing, or land ownership—is allowed to participate in the harvest of fish and wildlife within guidelines set by lawmakers.