I am interested in creating knowledge about wildlife. Hunting has changed my life and informed my perspective on conservation. Effective conservation depends on multiple groups of people engaging in dialogue to collaboratively create knowledge and find solutions. My goal is to celebrate the complexities in hunting and conservation and understand how we can collectively create knowledge about wildlife and use that knowledge for conservation.
We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. Globally, we are losing species to extinction at a minimum of 1,000 times the natural rate. Half of Canada’s wildlife species have declined since 1970. It is by now beyond debate that humans are impacting the world’s biodiversity, including wildlife at all levels, at a magnitude and rate that has never been seen before in the history of this planet. Academics and social… Read More
At one point in this continent’s history, we had no legal mechanisms for wildlife management and conservation. At one point, unregulated hunting and development had reduced this continent’s waterfowl populations to terrifyingly low numbers. We almost lost the wood duck, Canada geese were in danger, trumpeter swans had declined significantly, and habitat was being lost at dramatic rates. Then in 1916, North Americans made a statement about the present and future value… Read More
I began discussing the topic of trophy hunting in my last post, In Search of Trophies. The foundation of the post was that the social debates around trophy hunting are often structured around, and derailed by, two false distinctions. In the first post, I talked about a false distinction between two groups of hunters: trophy hunters and non-trophy hunters.
I don’t recall when I first heard someone use the term fair chase. I do recall becoming gradually aware of a set of thoughts, feelings, and ideals regarding different aspects of hunting that I would later come to identify as a developing understanding of what is collectively referred to as fair chase. Fair chase is a concept that is somewhat popularly understood as the moral foundation of our community; however, while many… Read More
If you derive any enjoyment from the largely intact suite of wildlife that roams North America, enjoy healthy wetlands that clean and filter our drinking water across the continent, or just simply enjoy the concept and existence of healthy habitats and wildlife, then you have benefitted from wildlife researchers and the role that scientific research has played in North American conservation over the last century. That we now have stable populations of many… Read More
We need wolves, bears, and large cats on the North American landscape. They belong here, and neither the landscapes we call home nor our own cultures would be the same without them. It’s not only proper management practice to protect the place and role of predators in North America, it’s both a patriotic act and a moral responsibility. I began this post some time ago, but just didn’t quite have a clear direction for… Read More
There is an issue that has become increasingly relevant in recent years as technological advances in hunting equipment have begun to outpace our conversations around its use. It’s a debate I’ve heard in different settings and for various purposes, but it comes down to a question that is personal, legal, and ethical in nature: where do we draw the line in our use of technology in hunting? In any discussion of technology in the outdoors, there are… Read More
My last post suggested that we can, and indeed should be conscientious about the perspectives of our audiences when we frame messaging about hunting. When thinking about how we frame our roles as hunters, there is a line of thinking that takes the stance of the “unapologetic hunter”. In contrast, I make the case that it is valuable to actively create new allies and that we need to cultivate collaboration and dialogue in many different… Read More
I’m writing this from Kugaaruk, a community of about 800 people in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot Region. Kugaaruk is on the southeast side of Pelly Bay, which at its north end opens up into the Gulf of Boothia, in the Canadian Arctic. The community itself is right at the mouth of the wide Kugaaruk River and is surrounded by an amazing topography of rocky hills and islands. Right now, the ice in the bay… Read More