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.

Read More

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?

Read More

This is Part 1 of a new exchange of letters between myself and two good friends of mine. 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.


Paul and Eric,

I address this letter to old friends and new ones.

It’s morning now, the weather is cold and rainy. I sit here with Charlie-girl tucked under my right arm, as I type, and Gus across the room on his chair. I imagine our routine will stay the same and in the afternoon, whether it is still raining or not, we will be out training. 

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 the companies we support?

Hunting and fishing exist in a complicated social-political fabric. The choices we make as hunters and anglers shape our individual expression of the social-political act we engage in when we go into the field. It is worth reflecting on how we express our ethics through hunting and the people we surround ourselves with.

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 as the issues it works to address. Conservation has always involved alliances and collaborations between a wide variety of actors with diverse motivations and priorities. It is the cross-pollination of ideas brought on by the creative interaction of diverse perspectives that have achieved the many monumental conservation successes we celebrate.

Read More

On week long back country canoe trips, day hunts from a tree stand, or actual sketchy situations, knowing how to work with rope to secure loads and tie off gear is key for any outdoors person. My grandfather spent years sailing by himself on a 22-foot sailboat and that guy knew his way around rope. He emphasized the importance of ensuring your rope was neat and tidy, knots were secure, and you know where the end of your rope was so you could work with it when needed. Whether you are pulling a bear hang up to keep your food safe overnight, tying a canoe to a car, hanging a tarp in a downpour, or just doing general tasks around the house or camp, it’s important to understand the purposes of different knots and which are most useful for the situation.

Read More

Georg Wilhelm Steller spent nine months stranded on an island in the Bering Sea in 1741. If Steller had followed the fate of the expedition’s leader, Vitus Bering, and died of cold, hunger, or scurvy, we may today know far less about much of the wildlife on what became Bering Island. In particular, were it not for the time Steller spent observing and eating a large marine mammal during his time on the island, it is likely that the Steller’s sea cow would have been named after someone else.

Read More

Throughout the 19th century, hunters, trappers, and mountain men would emerge from the mountains each spring to meet for an annual rendezvous. They would trade, sell their furs, restock supplies, exchange news, and engage in general frivolity. The last rendezvous took place in 1840 in Wyoming.

In the spirit of meeting with like-minded people to trade, this series presents discussions I have with friends about topics related to hunting and conservation. It is a kind of virtual rendezvous that presents largely unedited written exchanges with dear friends of mine. As with the rocky mountain rendezvous, it brings together diverse people who spend most of their time far apart but share an important set of motivations and ethics. This is a conversation with Caleb Musgrave (Canadian Bushcraft) and Jon Gattozzi.

Letters among friends.

Read More

When a new species is identified, its discoverer typically has the privilege of naming it. Hundreds of wildlife and plant species around the world are named for explorers, scientists, and celebrities. Species such as the Humboldt squid, Steller sea lion, Douglas fir, and Stasimopus mandelai, a species of South African spider named in honour of Nelson Mandela, are named for specific people. We talk about these species often but may not always know the stories of their namesakes.

No other person has more places named after him than Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt has hundreds of cities, streets, and bodies of water named for him worldwide. There are also wildlife species, plants, asteroids, and physical features that bear his name.

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.

Read More