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 of chemical agents in attempts to eliminate all wolves and coyotes from the landscape. The suite of anti-predator ideologies, policies, and behaviours were unethical and ineffective in the past and they are detrimental to hunting now.

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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 might have formed your opinions about both hunters and hunting based on these interactions. In either case, you might feel like you understand why a person hunts – their motivations, perspectives, and values.

Now, consider another question: how well do you feel the other person understands your motivations, perspectives, and values – as a hunter or non-hunter? Likely, you have also shared your ideas with them on a range of topics related – even tangentially – to hunting. So they should also have just as strong a grasp of your inner moral workings as you have of theirs.

If your answers to the two questions are different, it might be worth reconsidering our assumptions about how well we truly understand other people and their motivations.

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Each year, we dedicate March 8th to celebrate, honour, and appreciate women for International Women’s Day. We devote a day to recognizing the contributions of women to politics, literature, the arts, science, technology, medicine, and perhaps above all, we take the opportunity to tell the women in our lives how important they are to us.

As we look around our personal and professional communities, we find women who advanced our thinking and paved the way for so many important achievements throughout history. We also need to ensure that we celebrate the ideas and efforts of women who are doing the work right now and every day throughout the year. Let’s be sure we reach out to them and recognize their efforts as they are happening.

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snowy mountain peaks near river and evergreen forest

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, inflating the size of the fish or the antlers on the one that got away with each retelling. But what are our obligations to a hunting narrative? How can a collective hunting story give us a sense of pride and advance our long-term goals for hunting and conservation?

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Last month, I posted about the new Agreement for the conservation and recovery of the Woodland Caribou in Alberta signed between the Canada and Alberta governments. One of the themes in the history of caribou conservation across Canada is the federal and provincial governments failing to follow the timelines and requirements of Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA). As I’ll explain, while SARA establishes shared federal and provincial responsibility for species at risk conservation in Canada, provinces have the bulk of responsibility for managing threatened and endangered species. However, in cases where the provincial governments do not fulfill their responsibilities, SARA provides a mechanism that allows the federal government to intervene with what is called an emergency order to protect species and their habitat. But what is an emergency order, why didn’t it work to protect caribou, and what is the potential of this component of our species at risk legislation to prevent species extinctions?

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I started this blog five years ago as a space for personal reflection, intellectual exploration, and, hopefully, to connect more meaningfully with a community of other hunter-conservationists. I wanted a space where I could communicate some of the things I was learning about hunting and conservation and what I was learning about my place in that world. I began in 2015 with a post titled Setting the Stage: My Position as a Hunter-Conservationist. In that post, I tried to frame my thinking about what it meant to be a hunter and a conservationist and how I understood that role at the time.

Now, as the year comes to a close five years later, I want to re-visit that original post and reflect on my initial frame of mind and what I have learned about hunting, conservation, and my position as a hunter-conservationist in that time.

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An Examination of the Hurdles Created by Differing Conservation Legislation in the U.S. and Canada

Casey Pelzl and I collaborated on this piece as Conservation Contributors with Hunt To Eat. It was originally published on the Hunt To Eat blog.


Some of us are familiar with Aldo Leopold’s appreciation for Canada geese when he mused that, “One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.” Many of us know the heartwarming excitement at hearing the first honk of the fall as geese start their southward migration. The really fortunate among us know the calm anticipation of sitting in a cold blind at sunrise and seeing the specks of a flock of geese grow larger from the horizon as they come into our decoys amidst a frantic chorus of calls. Canada geese (Branta canadensis), in addition to Aldo Leopold’s seasonal muse, are also among North American conservation successes. 

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I wrote this piece as a Conservation Contributor with Hunt To Eat. It was originally published on the Hunt To Eat blog.


Squirrel hunting might be where small game meets big game hunting. Squirrels have a fascinating ecology, offer amazing hunting opportunities, and make delicious table fare. I can remember occasions while hunting whitetail deer when I chose to swap out my deer rifle for a .22 and switch my deer hunt into a squirrel hunt. Squirrels are just that charismatic and squirrel hunting is just that fun.

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Despite being listed as threatened under the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA) in 2003, the Alberta government has made very little progress on woodland caribou protection or recovery. The Canadian and Alberta governments recently signed a new collaborative agreement to work towards caribou conservation. The agreement has some strengths and promising features but also leaves a lot of space for further delays by the Alberta government.

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This is Part 2 of an exchange of letters between two good friends of mine (see Part 1 here). Jon Gattozzi lives in Ontario, is a fish and wildlife technician, works with Ontario Parks, and is a hunter, angler, and trapper. Eric Lede is a great friend of mine from Australia. He has worked with communities in Arctic Canada, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. Both have a wealth of insightful perspectives that interweave with one another in thought-provoking ways and an inspiring desire for meaningful discourse.


Eric and Jon,

I want to dig a little deeper into the question of where our ethics come from and where we anchor our notions of what is right. I am also fascinated by how we conceptualize the relationship between what is right and what is natural – does one equal or at least logically connect to the other?

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