Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Is Best For The Resource

Hunters, tourists, and photographers want to see plenty of trophy animals, but are these goals compatible?

Doing What Is Best For The Resource-A Management Principle

We discussed Ralph Harrison and his contributions to Pennsylvania Elk management in some detail in a recent post.During late September of 2006, I had the good fortunate to speak with Mr. Harrison for an hour or so. During that conversation he brought up an important point. “We must do what is best for the resource, not what the tourist industry wants, not what the hunting industry wants, but what is best for the animals themselves”.

No truer words were ever spoken. I for one believe that Mr. Harrison, if in a decision making position, would pursue a management policy based on that statement and that it would be an excellent management policy.

Unfortunately the problem is that most people view what is best for the resource through the prism of their own self-interest. A good example is the current deer management controversy in Pennsylvania. (One could devote a blog to this subject alone) There are all shades of opinions on the matter but it mostly boils down to many who have problems with deer damaging property and crops want far fewer animals, while those who like to hunt and watch them want more.

A favorite statement of politicians is that the deer wars must end. The truth of the matter is that for the wars to end, one side must but give up their concept of what is the right number of animals and neither is willing to do so, even if the inability to compromise on the issue ultimately results in the destruction of the PGC!

This principle of course applies to elk management. Both tourists and hunters want plenty of elk and lots of bulls with large antlers. The problem is that while the goal of each may be somewhat the same on the surface, in actuality there is quite a divergence of opinion when one examines the subject in depth.

Mature Pennsylvania Bull Elk-Winslow Hill

Mature Whitetail Buck: Shenandoah National Park

I think the above points are well worth considering as we continue to explore wildlife management issues in future posts!


quintarantino said...

After reading your post I think that the ideal thing to do is manage or find a way (a middle term) between the needs of Nature, hunters and tourists.

And great photos again.

Anonymous said...

I just read some country is now to begin to cull elephants. Those magnificent animals with families and memories. It seems a waste in many ways. I don't understand why the extra animals cannot be moved to places where they can be allowed to live a life of their own. It is applicable to everything but as long as man has a finger in the pie the taste will be bad for somebody.

Chad Oneil Myers said...

That's a Monster Buck!

Tom said...

Two great pictures today Willard.
I tend to agree with Ade on the matter that the interests of the animals will always take second place to what man wants. I like what Peters friend from Scotland was saying abut culls and pay to shoot hunting. Animals are stalked and shot. The only animals to be legally shot are done so by the consent of the stalker who takes you out. You can not just turn up with your gun and shoot the biggest bull. You can spend all day out stalking and see many animals, but if the stalker thinks they are not right to be shot ... then thats that. Only the weaker ones and the old bulls are shot. It seem right that the strongest animals survive and pass on their genes, stronger genes make for a stronger herd. It seems to work over here, but then mostof these herds are managed privately.

Kerri Farley said...

Once again...your shots are stunning! I do hope the future holds compromise for this situation.