Conserving wildlife isn't cheap. But who foots the bill? That's an important question in a world filled with passionate debates on critical issues such as trapping, predator control, trophy hunting, coyote killing contests, and wolf management. Who should have the most say? People who want to conserve wildlife so that they can consume it? Or people who want to conserve wildlife so that they and future generations can enjoy it?
(Note from Rick: You can listen to audio versions of some of my posts. I welcome your comments on the audio. Click here for today's audio post.)
Hunters and trappers declare that their opinions matter most because they pay the fees that support wildlife conservation and management. The current system does emphasize their opinions. Wildlife commissions tilt toward their views. Legislators propose misguided hunting and trapping of predators to protect prey.
On the other hand, those of us who want to protect and preserve wildlife to enjoy it say that our opinion should carry more weight. After all, wildlife is a public asset. There's even a public trust doctrine that says so. And there are far more of us public than hunters and trappers.