Time for Change? Challenging the North American Model of Wildlife

I feel fortunate to have grown up in a world
of sociologists – journalism would be much
better if more practitioners had contact with
the social sciences, rather than close-minded
—Peter Hessler 2011 MacArthur Fellow
The North American Driving Model
A great contribution to the world
• Drive on the right hand side
• Efficient (people don’t have to decide what to
• Reduces traffic accidents
• Tax on fuel is earmarked to build and maintain
even more roads
• Much of the greatness of America is due to
the wonderful system of roads and driving on
the right
A lot of the rest of the world has not
figured this out (London)
All going the Wrong Way!
Sweden made the shift 3/9 1967
Many think Sweden’s economy among the strongest in Europe because they had the vision
to adopt the North American Driving Model
The North American Driving Model
• Was forged by Teddy Roosevelt and Henry
• Was followed religiously by Aldo Leopold
1935 Chevrolet
The Sociological Question
• Why have you never heard this
pitch for the North American Driving
Model before?
–This is a question that sociologists (not
editors) ask.
• But we hear similarly postured praise for
the North American Model of Wildlife
Conservation? WHY???
Contradictions/Stresses in the
That the model is being defended so
strongly suggests that it is “broken,”
and that it is in someone’s INTEREST
to defend it rather than fix it
The Scarcity-Abundance Contradiction
• Model was designed to reduce scarcity and
produce abundance
• Has been extremely effective.
• Problem today is abundance—too many
animals and in the wrong places.
• The model has few tools to reduce abundance
– Like a car with only an
– accelerator pedal
Single vs. Multiple Interests
• The model was “Born in the hands of hunters”
to increase the numbers of GAME species
• There are now many others interested in
wildlife and especially non game species
• Non consumptive wildlife recreationists have
very different interests from hunters and are
being left out.
Single Species vs Ecosystems
• NAMWC focus on single species
– More deer, more ducks, more elk
– And even “more” wolves (to a point)
• If you want more of a particular kind of animal
the NAMWC is just what you want.
• But what ABOUT ecosystems that are healthy,
sustainable, diverse, complex, or resilient ?
– How does the model provide these??
Socialism-Individualism Contradiction
• Government control of wildlife
– Wildlife belongs to the people (state)
• Wildlife managed by the state
– Wildlife Management—as socialism as noted by
James Kroll-the Wisconsin Deer Czar
• Hunters have strong individualistic values
– Hunters have lost their own initiative—demanding
more deer from the government.
– The worst fear of the conservatives, when it comes to
wildlife we have a “ Nanny State”
Science Based Wildlife Policy (Pillar 6)
• Obviously science is important for
management. But . . .
• Expert Knowledge is only legitimate
– The government experts know more than YOU do
• Socialized wildlife management creates a
cadre of government employees to defend the
status quo
– Who is writing and publishing the hoopla about
the Model???
Government Management
• Nimble?
• Experimental?
• Agencies have their own agenda
– WDNR opposed elk restoration in the north
– It took to politicians (Tommy Thomson and Martin
Hansen) to get the elk restored
• Sportsmen provide a cash cow for research
and management. Why change something
that is producing so much money!
NAMWM--an almost Irrational Fear of
• Elimination of markets for game
– Major innovation in the 19th century
– Has been exported all over the world
– Takes away a major tool for dealing with
• Also it does not allow pricing as a way of
allocating a scare resource or dealing with
resource damage
• Controlled markets are powerful a tool
The North American Wildlife
Conservation Model
Came out of the 19th century to solve
the problems of the 19th century and
now longer suits the problems and
opportunities of the 21st.
Negotiating the Future by Looking
With Predictable Results
With these stresses and
contradictions change will come
What can we as Outdoor
Communicators do to help facilitate
that change?
The Three Most Conservative
Organizations in the World
“and the golden age of journalism”
• journalists imagined and
created future
• they did not simply report press
releases for railroads and or the
New York police
• they captured the imagination
of the people and leaders
• Roosevelt edited reporter
manuscripts and lifted from
them for his messages to
The Role of Media
• The Media doesn’t tell us what to think
The media sets agendas
• In that sense articles that explore how things
might be can and will reframe the discussion
• Don’t simply point out the problems but explore
in depth the potential solutions
• Outdoor communicators must create the new
ideas—cuz the vested interests will not come up
with them
Three Examples
• Diversity
– We think it is good in ecosystems and in social
systems—how to get it in social system
• Crane Hunting
– Empowerment, sharing the wealth, and moving
beyond the “nanny state”
• Reframing wildlife
– Paying environmental damages for high deer
• Quit writing articles about how few women in
the Conservation Congress.
– This is obvious
– The Congress will never fix it
– If you were a woman would you want to hang out
in an organization with 97% males?
– How many men join organizations with 97%
• Instead explore structural solutions to the
problem like . . .
Diversity Requirements
• In each county require that ONE of the Congress
delegates NOT hold a hunting or a fishing license
(easy to verify though records)
• Might phase in—beginning with the most urban
counties first and gradually spread.
• Write the story on how this might work
• It is possible that the non-consumptives might
not support this because they think the Congress
is useless-this is important information
• Proposal for an entire new model bringing
together hunters and non consumptive
• Empowering the International Crane
Foundation and crane supporters
• Taking power away from the DNR (a step
toward empowering the citizens)
• Currently there are no benefits to the ICF or
Crane supporters from a hunt
Experimental Framework
• Legislature gives the ICF authority to manage
cranes in Wisconsin—with some start up money
• In three years there must be a crane hunting
season with X number of tags issued
• The ICF will get all of the application fees and
license fees as a result of the hunting season
• They can use these funds in any way they want
for any of their programs possibly $250,000 to
$ 2,500,000 a year. (wolves – turkeys)
Think About It
• The ICF has plenty of experience and a track
record of dealing cranes
• This gives the IFC a direct benefit of hunting
for their programs (currently hunting only
benefits the hunters)
• It sets up a model that gives an alternative to
state centered (aka socialized) wildlife
• Science based management would scream!
– This is a direct threat to their power
– The creativity of their arguments will be amazing
• Hunters would scream!
– The system now is rigged in their favor—change is
dangerous—they might rather give up back tags.
• The International Crane Foundation
– There are obvious benefits.
– But some cranes would die at the hand of the hunters
– Would membership and donations decline?
Reframe High Game Populations as an
environmental insult
• Wildlife Damage/Eco system change law suits
– When Nekoosa Edwards dumps waste in the river they
are liable for damages to the ecosystem
– When deer hunters create huge deer populations that
have documented ecosystem effects no one pays.
• Have hunters pay more for licenses in units with
more deer.
– Incentive for lower deer numbers
– Money available for ecosystem restoration
• The defense of the NAMWC suggests that it is
• Merely covering over the flaws is not sufficient
to preserve it.
• Needs to change and adapt and be reinvented
• Outdoor communicators can contribute best
by bringing in the NEW ideas necessary for
pecker på hela handen
Attitudes Do Change--1987
“Governor Thompson retired his veto pen one
amendment too soon . . . he should have
scratched S. 29.48(6). This law, in effect, allows
anyone in Wisconsin to sell fish or game to a
licensed taxidermy school. Make no mistake. This
is a dangerous law that creates a commercial
market for fish and wildlife. . .”
The DNR hoped Thomson would veto Wood’s idea
because it thinks the law will eventually cripple
the state’s fish and wildlife programs.”
Same Columnist-27 years later
• “Selling venison is illegal—but why? Should
you be allowed to sell your own wild game if
you want to.” 2014
• “And selling venison wouldn’t necessary end
science based management.”
• Don’t laugh—it took Leopold 30 years to
change his attitude toward wolves

similar documents