Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Rocky Mountain States, Assistant Manager
Why it Matters: Controversy over predator management has continued to dominate conversations and headlines nationwide. Despite the public’s infatuation, predators need to be managed to fit within both social and ecological carrying capacity, just like every other species of wildlife. It is critical that the outdoor sporting community make sure to show up when called upon and voice their support for predator management before they are excluded from the conversation entirely.
In recent history, no wildlife management topic has proven to be more controversial than that of predators. Last Thursday, in the third episode of a 5-part summer webinar series, CSF hosted a panel discussion that dove into the political, social, and ecological challenges behind managing America’s most charismatic species.
Controversy over predator management has continued to dominate conversations and headlines nationwide. From coyotes to mountain lions, wolves, and bears, predator management is something that is ubiquitous across the United States. However, despite its necessity, predator management has come under increased and misguided scrutiny. Whether it be through ill-conceived policy, ballot initiatives, agenda driven game and fish commission decisions, litigation, or propaganda, the anti-hunting and animal rights community have made it abundantly clear that the ethical and regulated harvest of predators is unacceptable, regardless of the science behind such management decisions.
To discuss the complexities of predator management in today’s social and political landscape were Chris Tymeson, the State and Local Liaison for Safari Club International and covering the western half of the United States, Jason Hunter, Lander Region Supervisor for the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish, Marie Neumiller, Executive Director of the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council and Bill Gaines with the California Hunting and Conservation Coalition.
In just an hour, panelists discussed state, regional, and national policy trends, ballot initiatives, anti-hunting interests on game and fish commissions, the Endangered Species Act, the relentless efforts to reduce or eliminate predator hunting as a wildlife management tool, the importance of stakeholder engagement and much more. Examples were provided by panelists ranging from a ballot initiative that eliminated mountain lion hunting in California, to the relisting of wolves, a failed legislative effort in CO to eliminate all mountain lion and bobcat harvest, and the loss of the 2022 spring bear hunt in Washington State due to a misguided decision by the Fish and Wildlife Commission, just to name a few.
The panel discussion made it abundantly clear that the anti-hunting and animal rights community has its crosshairs on predator management, and it will take the entirety of the outdoor sporting community to stand united to keep the metaphorical wolves at bay.
If you missed out on last week’s webinar, there will be two more opportunities to tune in. The next episode of CSF’s Summer Webinar Series will be on Thursday, July 21 titled “More Harm than Good: The Unique Challenges Associated with Managing Invasive Species”. Register today!
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?