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Wildlife conservation and hunting laws

Unlike oil, coal, or other non-renewable resources, wildlife is considered a renewable resource: it is a resource which can replenish itself as long as it is not completely depleted.

“Using natural resources wisely” is the short and simple definition of conservation. Hunters are a very important group in establishing and driving wildlife conservation throughout North America. Regulated sport hunting does not endanger wildlife. In fact, hunting regulations were created in the late 1800's after many hunters realized that commercial hunting practices threatened wildlife. Due to hunters’ persistence in establishing and respecting hunting laws, no North American game animal has ever become extinct because of regulated hunting.

There are many important reasons why hunting laws exist today. Remember that hunting is a privilege, not a right, and that privilege can be revoked if a hunter does not adhere to hunting laws. The following are the four key reasons for the existence of hunting laws:

Protection of others

The protection of others is the most obvious reason for hunting laws, and the effectiveness of these laws has lead to hunting becoming one of the safest outdoor sports. As an example of a law designed for the protection of others, most hunters today are required by law to take a hunter education course before they can legally hunt. Hunter education helps us become safer hunters and how to best minimize the chances of hunting incidents.

Protection of wildlife

Laws and regulations that restrict hunting seasons, for example, protect wildlife by ensuring that no animal can be hunted during a time that would be detrimental to the wildlife population.

Fair chase

A harvest is never guaranteed; there is always a chance that the game will get away. There are many laws that restrict how a game animal may be harvested, which help maintain the integrity of the sport and ensure fair chase.

Fair distribution

Regulations, including bag limits and different seasons for the types of firearms used, ensure that every hunter will have a chance to harvest wildlife.

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