Dr. Vucetich's presentation can be seen in its entirety at -http://bit.ly/ZIQv5w
Some of his major points:
- The best-available scholarship provides a clear explanation that good wildlife management is a judicious balance between best-available science and democratic principles. State level legislation about wolves is written by politicians or politically appointed Commission members who are not especially well-versed in the science of wildlife management; thus, the resulting decisions are considerably more insulated from the will of citizens as well as from the tenets of good scientific principles.
- Wildlife and other natural resources are a public trust, which means that every citizen has an interest and voice in the management of natural resources. By contrast, state level wildlife agencies have a strong tendency to represent hunters' interests at the expense of representing the interests of the majority of citizens, who are not hunters at the present time.a. Hunting is an honorable tradition, and the voice of hunters is valuable. However, expanding the authority of state level agencies with the ability to (1) name which species of animals can be hunted and (2) regulate the numbers of these animals in the wilderness is a betrayal of the public trust doctrine.
- The North American Model of Wildlife Management is essentially a set of seven principles held in high esteem by many hunting organizations as well as wildlife professionals including many members of state wildlife agencies and Commissions.
- North American Model of Wildlife management
- Wildlife is held in the public trust
- Elimination of markets for game
- Principles of democracy
- Hunting opportunity for all
- Non frivolous use
- International resources
- Best available science
- Many wolf management proposals work against three of seven principles: Principle 1, whereby wildlife is to be held in the public trust; Principle 3, whereby management is to be determined through basic democratic principles; and Principle 7, whereby management is to be faithful to the best-available science.
- North American Model of Wildlife management
- Many advocates for wolf hunting believe that opposition is just one element of a much larger social force to abolish all forms of hunting. On the other side of the issue, some opponents of wolf hunting believe that wolf hunting represents a path to allowing many cruel and thoughtless forms of hunting that violate the intent of the North American Model.
5. As a society, we have lost the ability to understand the true value of hunting. Principle #5 of the North American Model states that wildlife should not be killed for "frivolous use." Stated more straightforwardly, we should not kill a living creature without an adequate reason.
a. Judging what does and does not count as an adequate reason is a responsibility that ethical hunters take quite seriously. There is legitimate concern that advocates of wolf hunting have failed to offer adequate reasons for hunting wolves. Sociological research indicates that non-hunting citizens tend to support hunting when the purpose of a hunt is adequately justified, i.e. consumptive use.
1. Good wildlife management demands good answers to these three questions: What is the goal of any proposed wildlife management action? How will that goal be accomplished? Why is the goal appropriate? There is valid concern that advocates for wolf hunting have not provided adequate answers to those questions.
2. One reason given for the proposed wolf harvest is to protect human and/or livestock safety. These threats, when they occur, must be dealt with swiftly, precisely, thoroughly and immediately. Protecting human and/or livestock cannot wait until the upcoming hunting season, with a hope that some hunter has the good fortune to kill the offending wolf. If genuine concerns are dealt with appropriately then offending and potentially offending wolves would either be dead or living with plenty of fear of humans by the time the next hunting season rolls around. Thus, a wolf hunt is not an appropriate way to promote human and/or livestock safety in any appreciable manner.
3. What counts as a good reason?
- Wildlife management should be based on best available science and principles ofdemocracy – a judicious balance between science and people.
- Does science give us a reason to kill wolves? Science says we can hunt wolveswithout compromising population viability or ecosystem health? But, it is right?That is left up to the democratic principles.
- Wildlife is held in public trust – all citizens have a stake; democracy is aboutproviding reasons
- The burden to provide valid reasons for a wolf hunt rests with hunters becausethey have set the standard for hunting themselves via the North American Modelfor Wildlife Conservation
- Trapping for pelts? Not a good reason and violates Standard 5 of NAM; typicalhunting seasons are not good for wolf pelts and constitute a frivolous use. One of the basic principles of NAM is "prohibition on commerce of dead wildlife;" commercial hunting and the sale of wildlife is prohibited to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations.
- Behavior of elk, deer and other prey has been changed by the presence of wolves; however, the wolf's effects on hunting opportunities are not yet known scientifically.
- Ethical hunters do not hunt for hatred; honorable hunters support wolves for the role they play in maintaining healthy ecosystems.
- Argument – Non-hunting citizens respect ethical hunting; non-hunting citizens also acknowledge that the overall decline in hunting activity nationwide may be attributed to the fact that hunters dishonor and disrespect their own model (NAM) by advocating for hunting without a valid reason; they discredit their own ethical standards; hate is not a valid reason for hunting.
- Does science give us a reason to kill wolves? Science says we can hunt wolves without compromising population viability or ecosystem health. But, it is right? That is left up to the democratic principles. If we do not address these issues, democracy, hunting and humanity is at stake.