It is often said that hunters (and anglers) “pay” for wildlife conservation. They do this, the argument goes, in two ways: 1) the money they spend for hunting and fishing licenses goes directly to fund state wildlife agencies; and 2) the excise taxes they pay on items purchased for hunting and fishing, such as guns and fishing tackle, are the source of federal grants to state wildlife agencies under the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts.
Depending on who you talk to, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (NAM) is either: 1) an historical account of how wildlife has been conserved in North America; 2) a prescriptive model for how wildlife should be conserved in the future; or, 3) both. There is no “official” version or recognized “keeper” of the concept. The closest thing is probably The Wildlife Society, which defines NAM as “a set of principles that, collectively applied, has led to the form, function, and successes of wildlife conservation and management in the United States and Canada.”
Wildlife managers often say that carnivores like wolves, coyotes and mountain lions need to be hunted to keep their numbers in check. Otherwise, they will continue to increase in numbers until they deplete ungulate populations, attack more livestock and pets, and generally become a nuisance. But is this true?
Hunting advocates often say that hunting is conservation. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has the most elaborate articulation of this position on its website, but other groups espouse some version of it as well, including most hunting organizations, the National Rifle Association, and even state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
But is it true? Certainly not on a literal level. Killing animals is obviously not the same as saving them.