I am interested in connecting with people to create knowledge about wildlife. Hunting has changed my life and informed my perspective on conservation. My goal is to celebrate and explore the complexities in hunting and conservation. To effectively conserve wildlife, we need multiple groups of people to engage in meaningful dialogue. I want to build relationships, collaborate to create knowledge about wildlife, and work towards effective conservation.
This article originally appear in Issue 1 of the Hunt To Eat Magazine, released in Winter 2022. All photography by Kristeen McTavish. In 2015, I was in Kugaaruk, Nunavut interviewing hunters for my graduate research. We were talking about ringed seal and polar bear ecology and the environmental changes hunters had noticed over the years, including changes to sea ice, climate, and wildlife. We were also running a harvest-based seal sampling program… Read More
We have been here before. We have debated predator issues in North America for more than a century. North American wildlife managers, policy-makers, and hunters spent decades engaged in coordinated efforts to demonize and exterminate predators from the landscape. Wild canids received the bulk of anti-predator sentiment and efforts throughout the 20th century. Fueled by flawed science and self-serving economic interests, governments hired hunters, used bounties, killing contests, and a wide range… Read More
I wrote this piece as a Conservation Contributor with Hunt To Eat. It was originally published on the Hunt To Eat blog. The hunting story I was told has been somewhat incomplete. More accurately, if hunting stories are the ones that we tell friends and family about our own experiences, the hunting narrative is the collective history we tell as a broader hunting community. We can tell our hunting stories however we want,… Read More
Hunting is wonderfully complex. It is a social activity that brings us together with friends and family. Hunting is also deeply embedded in conservation politics. Regulated hunting is an important tool of wildlife managers and hunting organizations play an important role in lobbying for conservation outcomes. Therefore, hunting is also a social-political act. When we hunt, we are an embodied expression of that social-political act. What political statements do we make through… Read More
This is not a repudiation of animal rights. The purpose of this discussion is not to diminish the history of the animal rights movement or demonize its proponents. We sometimes see the conservation movement as a linear thread through history on which we trace the growth of ideas and key figures in a neat and tidy narrative. In reality, the story of the conservation movement is as beautifully tangled and intricately complex… Read More
As conservationists, communication one of our most important tools. In many ways, the future health of wildlife depends on our ability to tell compelling stories from the heart that moves the public and politicians. As hunters, we sometimes allow ourselves to become baited into providing reactionary justifications for hunting and forget to focus on our personal motivations. Focusing on our motivations and speaking from the heart will create opportunities for genuine communication.
The environmental author Edward Abbey once said, “Hunting is one of the hardest things even to think about. Such a storm of conflicting emotions!” As we move our way through the hunting season, we will be acquiring new stories to tell about this year’s successes and adventures. We will take and post photos on social media as a way to tell those stories. Many of us will grapple with the images and… Read More
Conservation involves complicated layers that must be navigated. It involves a diverse set of voices, nuanced motivations, and vastly different ideas about the best types of programs and policies. Inevitably, there is a great deal of push and pull and disagreement about the right kinds of decision-making in conservation and what constitutes a morally right way to approach conservation. Bounties and killing contests occupy a contradictory space in the North American conservation… Read More
We often assume that if we convince people to care about wildlife they will support conservation. Of course, people are unlikely to support something they don’t feel personally attached to. Unfortunately, simply caring about wildlife does not always lead to positive conservation behaviour or support for policies. So the task is not only to make people care about wildlife but to do so in a way that will inspire them to take… Read More