Organizations Allied with Hunters
Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE)
In 1995, NWRA initiated a national coalition of 22 “wildlife, sporting, conservation, and scientific organizations.” This Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) is primarily intended to raise money for the National Wildlife Refuge System. “Representing over 15 million Americans who enjoy refuges for wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, recreational pursuits and conservation, we remain dedicated to working together to ensure that Congress provides the Refuge System with adequate funding for the responsible management, operations and maintenance of the world’s largest network of wildlife conservation lands for the benefit of the fish and wildlife it sustains and for future generations of Americans.” Signed on February 3, 2010, many of the coalition members present themselves as environmental organizations but seem to support recreational hunting. The organizations also each provide their individual rationales for joining CARE.
The members of CARE are:
- American Birding Association
- American Fisheries Society
- American Sportfishing Association
- Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
- Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
- Izaak Walton League of America
- Marine Conservation Biology Institute
- National Audubon Society
- National Rifle Association of America
- National Wildlife Federation
- National Wildlife Refuge Association
- Safari Club International
- The Corps Network
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Wilderness Society
- The Wildlife Society
- Trout Unlimited
- U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
- Wildlife Forever
- Wildlife Management Institute
Founded in 1978, AWA’s mission is “the protection of Alaska’s natural wildlife for its intrinsic value as well as for the benefit of present and future generations. The Alliance is your voice for promoting an ecosystem approach to wildlife management that represents the non-consumptive values of wildlife. AWA was founded by Alaskans and depends on the grassroots support and activism of its members.”
Though they are against trophy and sport hunting, their board includes both hunters and non-hunters, and they do support local hunting. While they claim in their official policy statement that this is “subsistence” hunting, they are not using the true meaning of subsistence, which is “the minimum (as of food and shelter) necessary to support life”. AWA considers hunting done by local hunters for the purposes of obtaining meat as “subsistence” hunting, though many of these hunters do not require meat for survival. While they do claim that local “subsistence” hunting has a less harmful ecological impact than factory farming, claiming that their hunting policies are “ecologically sustainable”, they still support the notion that human beings need to kill other animals for sustenance, and are allied with rural hunters “as a means of providing greater opportunities for true subsistence hunters and as a means of preserving indigenous cultural practices.”
Animal Welfare Position Statement
Hunting and Trapping
American Humane strongly opposes any animal hunt in which the target animal is confined or tame, in which the hunter fires on an animal with a remotely controlled weapon, or which uses animal traps that cause indiscriminate and unnecessary suffering. These practices involve no sport or skill, are denounced by true hunters and outdoorsmen, and result in painful deaths to thousands of unsuspecting animals, many of whom have been tamed and are unafraid of humans. Any practices that result in slow or painful deaths or suffering are considered by American Humane to be inhumane and, therefore, unacceptable hunting activities
“…under proper regulations, hunting should be considered a tool of management by owners of forest and range holders…”
Founded in 1875, American Forests is the oldest not-for-profit citizen’s conservation organization in the United States. “American Forests believes that wildlife and fisheries are a critical component of healthy forest ecosystems. Hunting and fishing under proper regulation are valuable tools in the professional management of forest ecosystems. Recreation on our forests is an important and growing use of the resource on both public and private lands. Hunting and fishing under appropriate regulation are legitimate forms of forest recreation.”
Founded in 1902 in Yellowstone National Park, they now represent fish and wildlife professionals in all U.S. states and territories as well as federal agencies. The Association professes the goal of “sound management and conservation” and works with hunters, providing resources for hunting and fishing as well as links to the National Shooting Sports Foundation on its website.
This document states that “The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies recognizes and supports properly regulated and managed hunting, fishing and trapping as appropriate management techniques for fish and wildlife and their habitat, which, in turn, provides recreational opportunities for everyone to enjoy. The Association recognizes the role of hunting, fishing and trapping as important activities in the development of our conservation heritage and hunters and anglers as important leaders in the conservation movement. The Association supports ethical and safe hunting, fishing and trapping, which respects wildlife and their habitat as important components of our legacy as wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists.”
BCA describes itself as “dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild places in Wyoming and surrounding states, particularly on public lands.” Begun in 1988, their guiding principle is that “all species and ecosystems deserve protection.” Their website makes little mention of hunting in one regard or another. However, the executive director, Erik Molvar, is himself a hunter, and provided the following information in an e-mail:
None of the Endangered Species in Wyoming are allowed to be hunted under state regulations, so the hunting of Endangered Species is a non-issue.
Biodiversity Conservation Alliance is not against hunting as a general rule, and I myself am a hunter. We often advocate on behalf of protecting lands important to hunters.
We do oppose some particularly objectionable practices, such as prairie dog shooting (which is not hunting due to the fact that it lacks a sporting element) and bear-baiting.
The Boone and Crockett Club supports hunting that is conducted legally and guided by a conservation ethic. If the intent of a hunter is to pass up a younger animal in favor of an older, mature animal, or merely take any legal animal regardless of sex or size, these are both choices that should be respected.
Founded in New Mexico by three former U.S. Forest Service employees, the Center’s stance is that “the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants.” The Center’s six main programs address endangered species, global warming, global biodiversity, marine species and ocean habitats, public lands, and urban wildlands. The Center works alongside hunters in these efforts, cooperating with organizations such as The California Fish and Game Commission, “expanding the non-lead requirements to hunting of non-game mammals and birds and prohibiting the use of lead .22-caliber and smaller-rimfire cartridges for non-game hunting in the condor range”.
The Center for Biological Diversity also supports the view that wildlife populations may potentially benefit from hunting. They believe that “public hunting has played a central role in the restoration and conservation of wildlife in North America for the past century” and that including hunting as part of wildlife management practices “will help foster long-term conservation”.
According to CAMPFIRE Revenue Sharing Guidelines, 55% of income is allocated to communities, 26% to the RDC to support costs attributable to CAMPFIRE activities, 15% for general RDC administration, and 4% as a levy to the Association. 55% of income to communities is the minimum limit, which has been exceeded to 60% in Tsholotsho, as an example.
Conservation Visions Inc. is governed by both moral obligation and ethical purpose to speak for the wild diversity of the planet and to defend and support the cultural diversity of humanity. The corporation’s worldview embraces all effective approaches to conservation that are confirmed by science and experiential knowledge, and that recognize man as an integral part of the natural world. Conservation Visions Inc. believes the conservation of nature is a core responsibility of citizenship and that mankind shares a stewardship obligation to all living things.
Conservation Visions Inc. is dedicated to:
- a world where conservation matters
- a world where biodiversity is safeguarded, including the diversity of human cultural experience
- a world where conservation and citizenship are viewed as inseparable, and where a global responsibility to nature is recognized
- a world where the sustainable use of natural resources is safeguarded through knowledge
- a world where governments make sound decisions concerning conservation and biodiversity, based on scientific and traditional wisdom
Founded in 1938 as a waterfowl research facility in Manitoba, Delta Waterfowl is an explicitly pro-hunting organization, “the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.” Though primarily concerned with duck hunting, Delta Waterfowl also advocates using traps as a way of controlling duck predators. They have partnered with U.S. Bank, Geico, Go-Devil, Original Log Homes, Hunting Retriever Club, SportDog, Purina, Buck Knives, Cabela’s, Federal Premium Ammunition, and shotgun manufacturers Stoeger, Mossberg, and Remington.
“…supports the concept of regulated sport hunting as an integral part of sound wildlife management, and as a wise and prudent use of renewable natural resources…Because DU was chartered as a conservation organization, it is not a ‘hunting’ organization per se. But as a part of its singleness of purpose, DU attempts to educate the public about wildlife habitat and management.”
Founded in 1937 by a small group of waterfowl hunters, Ducks Unlimited was started with the goal of raising money in the United States for waterfowl conservation in Canada, as the Canadian prairie is the breeding ground for most North American waterfowl. Today 90 percent of Ducks Unlimited members are hunters. Their website provides extensive resources for duck hunters, ranging from dog training to shooting and the use of decoys. Ducks Unlimited claims that hunters contribute more to conservation efforts than the general public.
The Ducks Unlimited hunting position statement states that “Ducks Unlimited, Inc. supports the sustainable use and harvest of renewable resources based on sound science. We support waterfowl hunting, when conducted in an ethical and sustainable manner, as a legitimate and acceptable use of a renewable resource.”
“Ducks Unlimited, Inc. does not direct its resources toward the influence of firearm or hunting legislation unless the legislation is clearly and directly related to waterfowl habitat conservation”.
The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) is a politically independent advisory body which aims to preserve wild game and hunting. To achieve this goal, the CIC is promoting the sustainable use of wildlife resources.
To promote and support the conservation of wildlife and related landscapes, local communities, and traditions through sustainable use including hunting.
A world where wildlife is valued and conserved as part of nature for the benefit of humanity.
“…believes hunting should be considered a valuable management tool, where it is compatible with other resource uses and purposes…”
Founded in 1922 by a group of anglers, this organization was named after the 17th century author of The Compleat Angler. The League has over 260 chapters of grassroots volunteers who address issues such as restoring wildlife habitats, decreasing pollution, improving water quality, and educating “outdoor recreationists” on conservation ethics. “Protecting recreational shooting and hunting opportunities has long been part of the League’s mission,” and they have partnerships with the shooting sports industry and government agencies in addition to operating over 100 shooting ranges throughout the country.
“The Izaak Walton League of America believes hunting should be considered a valuable management tool where it is compatible with other resource uses and purposes”
The National Association of Audubon Societies was incorporated in New York state in 1905. According to their website, “Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.” Many hunters are members of NAS, and Ted Williams, a proponent of deer hunting and spokesman for hunters, is a regular contributor to Audubon Magazine.
“The National Audubon Society has never been opposed to the hunting of game species if that hunting is done ethically and in accordance with laws and regulations designed to prevent depletion of the wildlife resource. We have made this clear repeatedly in official statements of policy, and it remains Audubon policy. Audubon will advocate restrictions on hunting, including the complete closure of a hunting season, whenever we are convinced that the welfare of the species involved requires it. However, we insist on sound scientific information before deciding these issues.”
One of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s primary goals after “the conservation of the wild turkey” is “the preservation of our hunting heritage.” Established in 1973, NWTF also works to get women, children, and the disabled more involved in hunting. “The NWTF has led the charge in promoting youth hunting opportunities and has teamed up with the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and the National Shooting Sports Foundation to remove youth hunting barriers across the nation.” They claim that hunters pay for wildlife conservation, and that conservation depends on getting more people involved in hunting.
“We support hunting because, under professional regulation, wildlife populations are renewable natural resource that can safely sustain taking…the real and fundamental problem facing wildlife is not hunting but, instead is habitat degradation and destruction…”
In 1936, Ding Darling, illustrator of the first Federal Duck Stamp to be purchased by waterfowl hunters, convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to invite over 2,000 hunters, anglers, and conservationists across the country to a conference in Washington, DC. Originally named the General Wildlife Federation, NWF “was formed with the idea of uniting sportsmen and all outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts behind the common goal of conservation.” According to NWF, “American wildlife conservation is grounded in the belief that wildlife belongs to the people, a concept commonly known as the Public Trust Doctrine or the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”
NWF not only works with hunters, but actively promotes hunting as part of our “heritage,” provides information on where to hunt, and views hunting as a “tradition” to be preserved and passed on to future generations.
According to their website, “The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect, enhance, and expand the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries that secure its ecological integrity.
To achieve this mission, we advocate for the Refuge System with national and local decision-makers; educate and mobilize communities across the country in partnership with our nearly 190 refuge “Friends” affiliate organizations; and engage diverse partners to conserve critical wildlife habitat in refuge landscapes.”
NWRA is very much pro-hunting, supporting the sale of the “Duck Stamp” as a federal waterfowl-hunting license with proceeds going towards the purchase or lease of additional wetlands and grasslands refuge habitat. NWRA permits sport hunting in most of its refuges, with seasonal limitations, regulations on hunting ranges and bag limits, types of weapons and ammunition used, and so forth; for instance, at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska, only non-toxic shot may be used, and the use of dogs for hunting coyotes is not permitted. Otherwise hunting regulations are determined by the state.
Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy’s stated aim is “to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.” The Nature Conservancy works in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries, addressing threats to conservation such as climate change. Hunting and fishing are permitted on several Nature Conservancy owned preserves, and “The Conservancy has worked with hunting and fishing organizations on projects large and small.” The Nature Conservancy also supports wildlife “management” projects to eliminate “invasive species,” claiming that relocation and sterilization are ineffective.
“…Without a regular controlled harvest, many animal populations and the ranges they occupy would be impoverished…Further, the hunter and the angler under established seasons and bag limits, take only a portion of the annual surplus which is going to be lost to other mortality causes anyway…”
The Professional Outdoor Media Association, Inc. is a group of individual communicators and Corporate Partners who believe in, defend, support and promote the heritage of hunting, fishing, shooting, and traditional outdoor sports through writing, photography, and other means. By doing so, members hope to educate the general public about these sports and encourage more participation in them. The organization serves the membership by helping members grow professionally, improve their skills, better their working environments and enhance their business.
In 1984, four hunters from Troy, Montana founded RMEF “to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat.”Today they have over 550 chapters, and count Federal Cartridge, Hunter’s Specialities, North American Hunter, Remington, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and other similar corporations among their official sponsors.
We understand that this is a highly controversial issue, and we have actively consulted with important conservation organisations such as the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group, and continue to take their advice on the subject. In an ideal world rhinos wouldn’t be under such extreme threat and there would be no need for trophy hunting.
However, the reality is that rhino conservation is incredibly expensive and there are huge pressures for land and protective measures; field programmes that use trophy hunting as a conservation tool, can use funds raised to provide a real difference for the protection of rhino populations.Many conservation organisations recognise that the sustainable useof wildlife, including responsible trophy hunting of rhinos, has a valid role in overall rhino conservation strategies.
Through the programme’s focus on natural resource conservation, the project team has built critical links within and across communities that provide a safe forum to discuss common solutions that will promote mutual understanding and positive attitudes. This has helped create indigenous civil society organizations that are now sustainably managing their resources in a collaborative, negotiated manner. This work spans religious and tribal entities – and their differences – to enable and encourage communities to work together to find common solutions to these conflicts.
Founded in 1892, Sierra Club’s mission statement is “To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.” Sierra Club frequently partners with hunters on various projects, and a Sierra Club leader was elected as Vice President of the League of Kentucky Sportsmen.
Sierra Club actively seeks out partnerships with hunters and anglers, and promotes the use of “ecofriendly” ammunition. The Sierra Sportsmen Network has its own page on the Sierra Club website, and promotes introducing children to hunting as well. Sierra Club’s policy on sport hunting and fishing is that “Wildlife and native plant management should emphasize maintenance and restoration of healthy, viable native plant and animal populations, their habitats, and ecological processes. Acceptable management approaches include both regulated periodic hunting and fishing when based on sufficient scientifically valid biological data and when consistent with all other management purposes and when necessary total protection of particular species or populations. Because national parks are set aside for the preservation of natural landscapes and wildlife, the Sierra Club is opposed to sport hunting in national parks.”
The Sierra Club has a strong policy opposing trapping: “The Sierra Club considers body-gripping, restraining and killing traps and snares to be ecologically indiscriminate and unnecessarily inhumane and therefore opposes their use. The Sierra Club promotes and supports humane, practical and effective methods of mitigating human-wildlife conflicts and actively discourages the use of inhumane and indiscriminate methods.”
Southern African Wildlife Management Association (SAWMA) is an independent, voluntary, non-profit professional body, founded in 1970. The association represents a multi-disciplinary membership and is involved with the science and management of wildlife and other renewable natural resources. It includes the various disciplines, such as wildlife research, conservation science, ecology, genetics, animal science etc.
The main function of SAWMA is to promote the common interest of our membership by publishing research articles in a scientific journal, African Journal of Wildlife Research, organising an annual conference and providing our members with news and other information, thereby keeping all abreast of the latest research and development and setting a code of ethics and standards for wildlife management and wildlife research.
Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Idaho, WWP works to improve public lands management in eight western states, focusing in particular on the negative impact of livestock grazing. “WWP’s scope of influence assures the agility and readiness necessary to promote recreational, hunting, fishing, wildlife, watershed, and water quality values across the west.” While WWP advocates for protection from hunting for endangered species and several predators, in general they are “not opposed to hunting of game species”, and part of their advocacy platform to protect wolves from hunting rests on the argument that more wolves will not significantly diminish the availability of “game” animals such as ungulates for hunting.
Founded in 1989 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, WildEarth Guardians began as Forest Guardians, merging with a large carnivore protection non-profit in 2008 to become WildEarth Guardians. Their programs focus on wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, climate and energy. WildEarth Guardians has many programs dedicated to preventing hunting of specific species — particularly carnivores such as mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and wolves — and wants to abolish federal wildlife killing, particularly aerial gunning practices. They also monitor state wildlife management to ensure that endangered species receive the protection they are entitled to by law.
However, WildEarth Guardians do not oppose sport hunting in general, and have worked with hunters on various projects, such as providing training courses to hunters to educate them on how to avoid over-hunting. According to Membership Communications Director Lori Colt, “Our organization is not anti-hunting, as we have done pro-active cougar hunter training in Colorado and New Mexico to save female cougars from being over-hunted. We do not have a policy with respect to hunting, although we are working to ban trapping in New Mexico.”
WCS is pioneering development and deployment of SMART ranger patrolling in over 70 locations across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Where SMART is deployed in Congo, forest elephant are not being poached for their ivory, and in Thailand, tiger numbers are increasing.
Around the world, WCS partners with local communities to manage their hunting and coastal fisheries to ensure that what they take is sustainable. We’re training local resource scouts to keep track of the abundance of species that are hunted and fished, and to help the communities themselves use this information to set and comply with sustainable harvest levels.
WCS uses camera traps to assess the abundance, distribution, and diversity of animals in the places we work. We launched the Wildlife Picture Index to bring together in one place the vast and growing trove of camera-trap images collected by us and our partners. For the first time, we have a way to track how wildlife populations across the planet are doing, and to show that our investments in wildlife conservation are making a difference.
WCS has worked with dozens of indigenous, First Nation, and traditional peoples to secure their rights to benefit from wildlife. With a sense of ownership over their wildlife, the people we partner with are an important, vocal constituency for wildlife conservation in their nations.
“…recognizes hunting as a legitimate use in wilderness areas…subject to appropraite regulation for species protection.”
Founded in 1935, The Wilderness Society’s goal is “to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places.” They claim to use science as the foundation for all the work they do on issues such as wilderness, global warming, energy, roadless forests, and stewardship. The Wilderness Society portrays hunting in a positive light, stating that “Many hunters and anglers prize wilderness for its hunting and fishing opportunities, and for the ability to hunt without having game harassed or habitat degraded by motorized vehicles.”
One of The Wilderness Society’s most recent campaigns, to “protect” the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands in South Dakota, will permit hunting: “Protecting Buffalo Gap National Grassland will establish a lasting legacy for future generations of South Dakotans and all Americans,” said Bart Koehler Senior Wilderness Campaigns Director at The Wilderness Society. “Local compatriots have come together to build a bedrock grassroots approach to protect this treasured area so that grazing, hunting and other activities can continue.” In addition, the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 is adding 20,000 acres to wilderness: “Wilderness protection is reserved for federal lands that rank high in scenery, biological diversity and recreational opportunities. Once added to the National Wilderness Preservation System, the areas are protected in perpetuity from logging, mining and road building but remain open to traditional recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding on existing trails and roads.”
Started in 1987, Wildlife Forever has funded over 600 projects in the U.S. and Canada, “through private special interest conservation groups, state game and fish departments and federal agencies. Wildlife Forever projects target research, management, land acquisition, and educational purposes. Special emphasis is placed upon grassroots programs.”Wildlife Forever acquires land for “public recreation,” including hunting, constructs and places bird and waterfowl nesting structures, and does GPS “research” on wildlife, as well as supporting fish hatcheries and controlled burning of forests. Their mission is “to conserve America’s wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife.”
Wildlife Forever takes a strong stance on the prevention and eradication of “invasive species”, partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, several state’s Departments of Natural Resources, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Sportsman’s Club of Lake Vermillion, and the North American Fishing Club to address the issue. According to their website, “Whether you simply like to watch wildlife or you like to hunt and fish, your favorite outdoor past-time is being threatened. Invasive species are destroying the habitat and food sources of America’s fish and wildlife.”
The Wildlife Legislative Fund of America is the nation’s principal sportsmen’s rights organization and through its associated organization represents over one million sportsmen. It is a firm believer in scientific wildlife management and supports regulated hunting, fishing and trapping.”
Field Sportsmen are America’s greatest conservationists. Because of their concern for wildlife and their support of the nation’s dedicated wildlife managers, America’s wildlife is thriving. No species of wildlife in the United States has been endangered by modern sportsmen. On the contrary, the sportsman’s concern for wildlife, backed up by $950 million annually through license fees and self-imposed taxes, is the reason wildlife is thriving.
Scientific data collected by biologists from the sportsman’s game bag provides invaluable information that wildlife managers use to formulate wildlife management plans to ensure wildlife’s health and abundance.
“…supports and encourages recreational hunting and harvests within (1) prescribed scientific guidelines, (2) essential standards and traditions of fair chase and (3) laws and regulations established and enforced by state, provincial and federal wildlife management agencies…Hunting designated wildlife populations legally and responsibly is a legitimate, healthful and otherwise worthwhile recreational activity…”
Founded in 1911, WMI is a private, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization, dedicated to the conservation, enhancement and professional management of North America’s wildlife and other natural resources.” WMI was established by sportsmen wanting to conserve wildlife populations in their natural habitats. “WMI works mostly on request with federal and provincial agencies, Congress, college and university researchers and educators, other private conservation organizations, and professional associations. It advises, testifies and, in a variety of other ways, provides educational services on timely wildlife-related issues.” “WMI supports the wise use of wildlife, including regulated recreational hunting of designated populations. WMI endorses the proposition of game management, the concept of biological diversity and principles of ecology.
One major component of WMI is the Hunting Heritage Action Plan, which espouses the belief that “A critical link exists between hunting and wildlife conservation.” They claim that a decline in the sale of hunting licenses is putting funding for conservation initiatives at risk, and that “hunting recreation” provides “billions of dollars in economic activity,” additionally expressing concern that a decline in hunting may result in a loss of “important parts of the American fabric of life and rural culture.” Numerous state wildlife departments and similar organizations have joined Hunting Heritage Action Plan in order to gain support for hunting.
The Wildlife Society is a strong and effective voice in representing wildlife conservation and management, and ensuring sustainable wildlife populations in healthy ecosystems.
To inspire, empower, and enable wildlife professionals to sustain wildlife populations and habitats through science-based management and conservation.
Founded in 1937, The Wildlife Society is an international network of nearly 10,000 leaders in wildlife science, management and conservation who are dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship. “Today hunting has many social values, including recreation, subsistence, heritage, utilization of the harvestable surplus to benefit people, and control of overabundant wildlife populations. Additionally, outdoor pursuits such as hunting help teach valuable lessons in ethics and responsibility and help participants develop a conservation and land ethic.”
In certain limited and rigorously controlled cases, including for threatened species, scientific evidence has shown that trophy hunting can be an effective conservation tool as part of a broad mix of strategies.
When strict criteria are met, multi-pronged conservation strategies including trophy hunting enable communities to prioritize habitat and wildlife conservation over alternatives such as cattle raising and converting habitats for farming. They include putting people on the ground to monitor and protect lands and wildlife, and offset the costs and dangers of living with wildlife.
Such programmes have enabled communities to invest funds in long-term wildlife conservation and sustainable development. They have proven to be vital to communities where remoteness and lack of facilities limit the availability of other livelihood options, such as ecotourism.
As part of its work, WWF provides long-term scientific and technical advice to improve the management of some conservation programmes involving trophy hunting, with the goal of ensuring both people and wildlife can thrive.
WWF is a major fund-raising organization working in over 100 countries worldwide, and as such is also strongly invested in a global economy. Their document on “Raising Revenues for Protected Areas” makes it clear that revenues generated by hunting (whether from recreational fees, taxes on hunting equipment, hunting licenses, or donations from hunters) are an important source of funding for “conservation” projects. Even for endangered species such as whales, they do not promote a ban on hunting but rather more “regulations,” which are usually determined by agencies that also promote a global economy and tend to support hunters. Finally, WWF has worked directly with hunters on “wildlife management” strategies throughout the world, such as developing strategies along with hunters for “increasing prey populations” on hunting estates.
Organizations Adopting an “Apolitical” Stance
Either on their websites or when contacted directly and asked for their views on hunting, organizations in this group outright decline to publicly state their views on hunting, or advocate only partial regulation of certain types or targets of hunting, but do not publicly endorse hunting or form alliances with hunters either.
Founded in 1934, the Animal Defense League is a no-kill animal shelter in San Antonio, Texas. According to Beth Johnson, “We are an apolitical group concerning sport hunting and focus our attention on the stray dog and cat population in San Antonio.”
AWI was founded in 1951 with the stated purpose of “alleviating suffering inflicted on animals by humans.” Their aim is to decrease cruelty and increase compassion towards animals on farms, in laboratories, and in the wild.
According to AWI president Cathy Liss, “Our focus has been on those practices which cause extreme suffering-for example, we have fought against penning of foxes and coyotes (and I’m pleased to report success in prohibiting this brutal practice in Florida) and against the use of the barbaric steel jaw leghold trap. That said, we have not taken a position against killing if it is done painlessly and does not deplete populations or species. We do advocate strongly for non-lethal, humane means of managing wildlife conflicts, and we have a grant program to support research into development and expansion of such techniques. We were one of the first organizations to support use of immunocontraception of wildlife.”
The Conservation Alliance’s mission is to engage businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values.
To protect and restore America’s wild places.
We are catalysts. Providing a link between the conservation community and businesses, we enable and inspire our colleagues to work together to protect the wild places vital to their business.
“…neither an anti-hunting nor a pro-hunting organization, but most of its 80,000 members are non-hunters and their concern is with the restoration and protection of all species of wildlife and their habitats…”
Founded in 1947 as Defenders of Furbearers, Defenders of Wildlife made a mission of protecting coyotes and other wildlife from lethal poisoning and steel-jawed leghold traps. Their focus is presently on the prohibition of aerial gunning of wolves, though they also address issues such as habitat conservation, global warming, international conservation, conservation science and economics, biodiversity, and legal efforts to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats.
“Defenders of Wildlife is neither an anti-hunting nor a pro-hunting organization, but most of its 430,000 members are non-hunters and their concern is with the restoration and protection of all species of wildlife and their habitats.”
“It has opposed hunting of some species and proposed reductions in bag limits to leave more prey for the wild predators . . . Its ‘bottom line’ goal is sustained populations of all native wildlife species for the enjoyment of all and for their intrinsic value.”
Generally speaking, Defenders of Wildlife opposes any changes in regulations that allow for the hunting of protected or endangered species, that permit any type of traps or poisoning, that involve aerial gunning, or that increase bag limits or the length of hunting seasons. However, they do not advocate doing away with sport hunting altogether, and support subsistence hunting. The recent signing of the CARE document by Defenders president Rodger Schlickeisen indicates that Defenders may be moving towards a more permissive stance on hunting.
Founded in 1982, Earth Island Institute was started by David Brower, who was previously an executive director of the Sierra Club. It was original conceived of as an organization that would lend support to fledgling environmental projects by helping to get grants and funding for small organizations. Over 100 projects have been supported by Earth Island Institute in the past 25 years, with some going on to become independent organizations, such as the Rainforest Action Network.
The Earth Island Institute project directory includes anti-hunting groups like Big Wildlife as well as many other animal and environmental organizations (such as the International Marine Mammal Project, the John Muir Project, and The Red Panda Network). However, according to one of the Executive Directors, John A. Knox, “Earth Island does not have a policy regarding hunting. That’s a very broad topic, and if we did have a policy it would most likely concern a specific human and animal circumstance”
“…has never been opposed to the hunting of game species if that hunting is done ethically and in accordance with laws and regulations design to prevent depletion of the wildlife resource…we will advocate restrictions on hunting, include the complete closure of a hunting season, whenever we are convinced that the welfare of the species involved requires it…we do not advocate hunting. This is no contradiction, though some people seem to think it is. Our objective is wildlife and environmental conservation, not the promotion of hunting. We think lots of the justifications for hunting are weak ones, and too often exaggerated for commercial reasons, and we do not hesitate to say so when the ocassion calls for it. But this does not make us anti-hunting…”
NRDC was founded in 1970 as an organization of law students and attorneys interested in environmental protection law. Their mission statement describes their purpose as “to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends.” According to Derek Samson at NRDC Membership, “NRDC has no official policy regarding outdoor activities such as hunting, trapping, and fishing, except for specific wildlands or habitat campaigns where harm to the environment is posed by the activity.”
“…is not opposed to sports hunting outside of appropriate sanctuaries such as national parks, provided it is regulated…Wildlife animals should not be valued principally in terms of whether they can serve as targets…we should respect the moral right of all creatures to exist, to maintain basic and successful breeding stock, to have essential habitat protected, to be free of unnecessary predation, persecution, and cruel and unduly confining captivity…regulated sports hunting may have a place for those who choose to pursue it, but there are more pressing concerns…”
According to Trish Swain at TrailSafe, an organization that aims to do away with wildlife trapping, “The trapping issue is all we can handle. We have no official stance on hunting”.
Founded in 1987, the primary goal of UAN is to help animals in crisis and to strengthen human-animal bonds through a variety of programs. They are involved with humane education, disaster relief, preventing animal cruelty, and providing grants to pet owners whose pets are in life-threatening situations. Primarily working with domestic animals, UAN does not have an official stance on hunting.
According to Director of Programs Karen Brown,
“UAN does not have any programs that are specifically targeted at hunting, and it is not one of the issues that the organization deals with on a routine basis. While hunting issues arise only on a rare basis among our campaigns agenda and program services, when they do arise, we take a compassionate approach and consistently support anti-animal cruelty measures, especially those that prevent particularly inhumane and senseless practices. For example, UAN recently opposed the expansion of bear hunting in California because the proposal would have allowed an unlimited number of bears to be killed, permitted electronic technologies that make it easy to locate and kill bears at point-blank range, and expanded the hunting range and the hound training season, all without demonstrating any need for the change.
Although UAN has consistently lent support or opposition to favor the “animals’ side” in several legislative or regulatory situations, it’s not accurate to say that UAN is an anti-hunting organization, since the issue is not something for which UAN frequently takes action, claims any special expertise or takes a leadership role. Therefore, it may not be appropriate to include UAN on a list of anti-hunting organizations since it could imply that UAN will be able to answer questions about hunting issues or provide expertise that we do not have.”
Works with Hunting organizations around the world to improve communication among countries and between National Veterinary Services and National Hunting and Fishing Associations. These actions are implemented by promoting the networks of professional experts on diagnostic, epidemiology and control of wildlife diseases, by signing cooperation agreements between these wildlife professionals and national Veterinary Services, and by developing operational guidelines and capacity building activities with the support of the global networks of the OIE Regional Offices, Reference Laboratories and Collaborating Centres for prevention and control of wildlife diseases.