HUNTING: A PRODUCT OR A TOOL FOR WILDLIFE MANAGERS?
Hunting is often defended as an effective management tool to manipulate wildlife populations toward stated objectives. This implies that managers 1) understand the role of hunting in population dynamics, 2) can effectively regulate size, age and sex composition of harvests, and 3) can predictably influence the target population. These criteria are seldom met in practise. Furthermore, since most management agencies set objectives in terms of sustained yield and hunter days, hunting is used as a tool to perpetuate hunting. Hence, the argument that hunting is a tool necessary for wildlife managers to control populations is circular and difficult to defend. Rather, hunting should be defended as a traditional and legitimate use of wildlife. At the same time, wildlife managers need to improve their understanding and predictive capability to use hunting effectively to manipulate populations.
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