July 10, 2023

Wildlife Management Reform Takes Center Stage as CSF Kicks Off 2023 Summer Webinar Series

Why it Matters: To ensure wildlife populations continue to be managed sustainably – and that the public continues to benefit from the immense contributions made by hunters and anglers – it is critical that policy makers continually work with the outdoor sporting community and professional wildlife managers to maintain scientific management of our wildlife resources. By upholding the management ethic codified by the , we can safeguard abundant opportunities for all Americans to hunt and fish and ensure the long-term sustainability of a wide array of wildlife species.

  • Despite decades of countless conservation successes, current wildlife management practices under the guidance of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation continue to be subjected to misguided scrutiny from anti-hunting and animal rights organizations.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation hosted the first installment of a 4-part summer webinar series that focused on state, regional, and national trends to replace our current conservation ethic with preservationist ideals and move away from a management model that includes sustainable, highly-regulated harvest.

Wildlife management reform proponents have begun infiltrating state wildlife Commissions with an overarching goal of moving away from traditional conservation towards a preservationist agenda in which animals and their habitats are allowed to “self-regulate” and hunting is a thing of the past.  In the first episode of a 4-part summer webinar series leading up to National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 23, 2023, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) hosted a panel discussion that dove into this issue and why the outdoor sporting community needs to be paying attention.

Despite widespread success in sustaining and restoring fish and wildlife populations for decades, anti-hunting interests are making efforts to restrict the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the benefits that hunters and anglers bring to the perpetuation of wildlife and habitat conservation. The panel discussion took a deep dive into the national effort to move away from America’s existing sustainable management model, discussed inherent flaws with the wildlife management reform logic, provided examples of how the fight over wildlife management reform is playing out at the state-level, and how hunters and anglers can help ensure their ongoing role as foundational tools in wildlife management.

To discuss the complexities of wildlife management reform in today’s social and political landscape was a panel of experts including Dr. Kim Thorburn, former Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commissioner; Gaspar Perricone, former Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commissioner and current Chair of the Colorado Wildlife Conservation Project; Amy Patrick, Policy Director for the Oregon Hunters Association; and Charlie Booher, consultant for Watershed Results.

The panel discussion made it abundantly clear that the wildlife management reform proponents have their crosshairs on the North American Model of Conservation and current wildlife management practices. Whether it be through ill-conceived policy, ballot initiatives, agenda-driven game and fish commission decisions, litigation, propaganda, or wildlife management reform, the anti-hunting and animal rights community have made it that they view the ethical and regulated harvest of game animals to be regardless of the science behind such management decisions. 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 three more opportunities to tune in. The next episode of CSF’s Summer Webinar Series will be on Thursday, July 20, at 3pm eastern titled Who’s The Boss? The Role of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Stakeholders They Serve. Register today!

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