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Sturgeon's House

Scolo's Quick Survey Thread on Wildlife Management Funding


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So, I've got something of an informal survey I'm working on at the moment that concerns people's perception of funding for conservation and wildlife management.  Most of this funding comes from licenses, fees, tags, and stamps for hunters, as well as excise taxes and fees on public land use.  My question on the matter is this:


Should the means of funding for wildlife management be expanded, reduced, or kept the same (continue to rely primarily on hunters)? If it should be expanded, by what means or new methods would you suggest?  Do you find this topic to be of any importance or interest to yourself?


If anyone is interested in sharing their thoughts (or even lack of) on the matter, I would appreciate it.  I'm not really needing an elaborate response, but I'll take it if you give it.



Here's a picture of a ruddy duck for added flair



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I have a lot of somewhat disjointed thoughts on this matter.


The American political and cultural heritage is grounded, in large part, from people who really didn't like the King of England telling them where they could and could not hunt.  There was a folk-identity based around common people who did what they needed to do to get by, and if the law said they were doing this on Crown lands, or in technical violation of what common lands could be used for, well, then the law was stupid.  Rudyard Kipling's poem Norman and Saxon alludes to this.

Everyone wants there to be wide, unfenced public lands where they can do whatever the hell they want.  To some extent in the Western United States where population densities are low and there's a lot of public land, this ideal persists.  But as more and more people want to use that public land, the accounting of the use of the land needs to become more structured.


Right now, the number of people hunting in the United States is declining, and the cultural divide between urban and rural is such that hunters are vilified.


There are also larger ecological management problems that run into jurisdictional issues when they cross privately owned lands and lands owned by multiple agencies.  Part of the reason the Asian pine beetles have been able to run rampant is that a cohesive plan of action to contain them involves coordinating a lot of state and federal agencies as well as private landowners.  The political will to herd that many cats simply does not exist because politicians are all useless cowards.


Energy politics plays into it as well.  Last estimates I saw were that wind farms kill about the same number of birds as all the waterfowl hunters do on the Atlantic flyway yearly.

So, in a sense it's good that hunting pays for most of it, because it's the highest-value activity on public lands, but it also leads to a tragedy of the commons sort of situation where the impact of other activities that draw from the common pool isn't accounted for.  And we're culturally indisposed to look at it that way.  Public lands belong to everyone!  You can't infringe on people's rights!  We need green energy!  Put up more windmills.

As usual, I am at a loss to think of a solution that doesn't involve rounding up all the hippies and putting them in camps so that the adults can fix the problems without their bleating.

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