Consumptive Use and Wildlife Conservation

I recieved an email this week, from Suzanne Davies, asking me to create a link to a blog about photography and getting kids involved in the outdoors.  The blog is entitled “100 Resources for Teaching Your Kids About Wildlife Conservation” at http://photographydegrees.org/100-resources-for-teaching-your-kids-about-wildlife-conservation .

I responded that I’d check out her blog and I did so. Although the obvious intent of the blog was to promote photography and wildlife, I couldn’t help but notice that there was no mention of true conservation, at least in the traditional form. Conservation means to conserve, which implies use. In my opinion, consumptive use.

As a hunter, conservation organizations are Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever etc. None of these groups are listed among Suzanne’s top 100. Seeing this I am very disappointed. The implication is that wildlife conservation is preservation, which is not the case.

Hunting is a major reason why wildlife habitat still exists in the United States. Hunting will continue to provide valuable habitat in the future, unless unknowing individuals create the illusion that hunting is anti wildlife and I believe that Suzanne’s list accomplishes just that.

Sorry Suzanne, I don’t know if you ment it that way, but your list needs revision, or you will be doing kids and wildlife a disservice.

5 thoughts on “Consumptive Use and Wildlife Conservation

  1. Rich, though I come to the same conclusion as you (that hunting groups need to be included in good, honest attempts like Suzanne’s), I must respectfully disagree with your definition of conserve.

    The root of conserve is the middle english, where it meant to preserve or protect. This word was from the latin, conserver, which meant to protect, preserve or guard.

    Even in its current definition, the word means to “use or manage wisely”. So, for example, when we conserve (manage wisely) a habitat, we may preserve some things in it (endangered species). This does not take away from the concept, it makes it the complete concept that it was, historically, and that it must continue to be.

    Consider that the National Park Service was born of the conservation age just as the U.S. Forest Service. Conservation must be greater than merely an implication of consumptive use, else we will fall into some supply-side traps, and not consider the whole being, as conservationists in the past had done so well.

    Just because we have labeled many consumptive uses with the word “conserve” here in the U.S. does not mean that it must always imply consumption. If that happens, then we eliminate very vital management decisions, and make the word less effective.

  2. Mr. Flether’s blog post brings up a great point even if the technical definition of conserve doesn’t exactly fit. The fact that since the advent of and continued improvement of structured hunting seasons and limits, as well as groups like Ducks Unlimited, Whitetails Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, etc. wildlife habitat and populations have been saved from decimation. In most instances the populations of wildlife and not just game animals, have grown exponentially. This is all primarily because of hunters. As hunters we can all take pride in that fact.

    On a side note this is my first visit to the blog and it has a great deal of information and stories to tell. Keep it up!

  3. wildpoint, you are preachin’ to the choir, man! : )

    I would love, by the way, to see those very same groups come out in STRONG support of the National Park Service, and other places where they feel that the habitat conservation should include preservation techniques. One of TR’s points of support for Nat’l. park units was the idea that they would be great preserves for game species, islands of safety to help maintain viable populations for hunting in other places.

    Both sides of this same coin, conservation groups and environmental groups, need to acknowledge the shared goal and the role of good science and a mature look at conserving all of our God-given lands.

    I, too, love Mr. Flether’s blog here.

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