As world's human population increases, so too does urban and industrial development. Thousands of acres of natural habitat are converted into housing developments, parking lots, shopping malls, factories, highways, etc. every day. Without a doubt, habitat loss is the greatest immediate threat to today’s wildlife populations. Some species such as squirrels, mice and skunks are highly adaptable; they can migrate and thrive in an urban environment. Other species such as deer, moose and bears are not so lucky; they need access to their natural habitat in order to survive.
As hunters, we must follow a strict ethical code and act as stewards of the land, enforcing wildlife management practices and conservation efforts. This stewardship will ensure that generations to come can enjoy all wildlife, just as we do today.
We will explore the factors required for a healthy wildlife population, the components that make up successful wildlife management practices and conservation efforts spearheaded by hunters and non-hunters alike.
Wildlife make their homes in backyards, large tracts of wooded land, swamps, marshes and even the desert. No matter the location, there are five requirements to good habitat. If all five requirements are met, the hunter will find many different types of wildlife. These requirements are:
All animals need to eat. If grasses, berries, seeds, nuts, bugs and browse are available, animals will come to eat.
All animals need water for survival. The water could come from a river, lake, pond or small creek. When water is not present, animals will travel far to find it.
Animals, just like people, need cover for shelter. This protects them from weather extremes as well as helps them hide from predators and care for their young. For some animals, adequate cover could just be a large tuft of grass or a fallen tree, for others it’s a cave or a brushy area.
All animals need room to roam. Some require larger amounts of space than others.
Animals need the food, water, cover and space arranged in such a way that it is conducive for them to stay in that area.
If all of the habitat needs are met, you should see wildlife. Wildlife biologists work with landowners to create and manage habitat for wildlife, especially in threatened areas.