In the corner of more sane opinions on these topics are the hunting advocacy groups, who keep referring to how these anti-hunting positions are invalidated by "The North American Model of Wildlife Management." While this sounds very good and official both to those who actually understand wildlife management (I happen to have a college degree in that field) and to conservative hunters who believe hunting is great, no matter what, we as hunters and wildlife ecologists have to understand that phrases like "The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation" sounds like this to anti-hunters and the like:
|Not sure that Put Some Pearls On It's Vision is in Concordance with the NA Model of WC.....|
|Market hunting ducks. Photo: Ducks Unlimited|
Almost too late, state game laws (besides the Sunday hunting/fishing bans) began to address the public's distaste for the massive slaughter, shipment, and re-sale of what they understood to be "publicly owned" fish and wildlife. The laws were readily ignored and difficult to enforce, since market hunters simply iced their kills (sometimes in barrels) and put them on railcars for interstate shipment. Frustrated by this development and the lack of change, a Republican Congressman named John Lacey sponsored a successful law banning the interstate transport of illegally killed wildlife. That law, now known as the Lacey Act, is the primary prosecution tool of the US Attorney General when pursuing federal-scale poachers or wildlife importers/exporters.
|The highly endangered Whooping Crane, once slaughtered|
for its feathers alone. Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service,
So those are cool laws, but as we've seen in the realms of narcotics and firearms, making something illegal and actually stopping it are two very different things. As the science of wildlife biology started to build in the 1930s, tools became available for politicians and bureacrats to periodically adjust laws and regulations to the reality of wildlife populations (and hunters). The legal backbone of wildlife protection allowed this periodic re-calibration to occur, and that's really the basis of the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation, which will dive into in Part II.