The North American Wildlife Conservation Model is a set of basic principles established by Theodore Roosevelt and other hunters in the mid-1800s that spelled out the absolute need to both protect and manage wildlife so they can be forever sustained.
The second such principle deals with the “prohibition on commerce of dead wildlife.”
In other words, commercial hunting and the sale of wildlife is illegal in North America.
The commercial harvest of game pushed many species to the verge of extinction. In the early 1900s, the elk population plummeted to an estimated 41,000. There were 100,000 wild turkeys, 12,000 pronghorn, half a million whitetail deer and a shrinking duck population.
That prompted hunters to pause and push for laws to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations. State agencies later further solidified those efforts by formulating and instituting a series of highly regulated restrictions to govern hunting.
Shortly after the end of market hunting, and as wildlife populations started to recover and stabilize, people started to notice and more strongly treasure the enormous value of fish and wildlife. They recognized hunting as an important food source which led to an increased desire to recover and protect wildlife.
Today, there are more than one million elk, seven million turkeys, 1.1 million pronghorn, 32 million whitetail deer and more than 44 million ducks.
Hunters not only rescued species from annihilation, they created a network of laws, agencies and partnerships that ensure the future of wildlife.
This continuing conservation framework promotes wildlife diversity and abundance, and stands as a testimony that Hunting is Conservation.