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

How well do you understand hunters? Consider your best hunting partner. You might spend days on end with this person every year in meandering conversations about life’s important questions. You have likely spent hours listening to them describe what is important to them and what motivates them to hunt. Maybe you don’t hunt but you have seen photos, social media captions, heard and read stories from hunters, including friends who hunt. You… 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

We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. Globally, we are losing species to extinction at a minimum of 1,000 times the natural rate. Half of Canada’s wildlife species have declined since 1970. It is by now beyond debate that humans are impacting the world’s biodiversity, including wildlife at all levels, at a magnitude and rate that has never been seen before in the history of this planet. Academics and social… Read More