Residents of Canada and the United States are fortunate to have abundant wildlife populations to pursue and plenty of public lands to use and explore. That’s in part thanks to forward-thinking conservationists and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which is a set of seven principles that state wildlife agencies and outdoor industry members use to guide wildlife management and conservation decisions in Canada and the United States.
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was developed in the 19th century after Americans realized that unrestricted killing of wildlife was destroying irreplaceable resources. Iconic figures like Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Aldo Leopold spoke in favor of conservation and helped create laws that protected wildlife and wild places. Those laws helped inspire and develop the seven principles described in the North American model. It’s important to know that the model has no legal powers. Instead, officials use the concepts when creating rules, laws and policies that affect fish, wildlife and their habitats. Therefore, the principles help restore and protect our natural resources.
Because the model isn’t an official document or set of rules, several organizations and entities use different language to describe the seven principles. Here’s the rundown as defined by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Hunter-education programs across the country teach these principles to newcomers because they help students develop good hunting morals and ethics.
These principles have saved wildlife species from extinction and helped dictate the successful conservation efforts Americans and Canadians see today. Residents in these countries have the privilege and opportunity to hunt and fish, unlike many people in foreign countries where wildlife and wild places belong to governments, corporations or individuals of a certain class or economic status.
As bowhunters, we must remember to follow hunting regulations and appreciate and respect game animals and their habitats. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to be granted these luxuries. Be a responsible, ethical bowhunter. In doing so, you’ll help preserve America’s natural resources for future generations, just like our ancestors did for us.