Page 2 - Outdoor Oklahoma
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               n the simplest terms, the mission of your Oklahoma   have a role in managing that resource on behalf of all
               Department of Wildlife Conservation is to manage   citizens and to ensure the long-term sustainability of
               the state’s wildlife and habitat, to provide public   wildlife populations.
          Iaccess to outdoor activities such as hunting and fish-  •  Markets for game are eliminated. A huge threat to
          ing, and to support and build participation in America’s   species’ survival was removed by making it illegal to
          rich outdoor heritage.                                         buy and sell meat and parts of game and
            To that end, we are guided by princi-                        nongame. A furbearer market continues as
          ples that gelled during the first half of the                  a highly regulated activity.
          20th century. These principles are called                      • Allocation of wildlife by law. Govern-
          the North American Model of Wildlife                           ments regulate access to wildlife for hunting
          Conservation. This “Model” came together                       through legal mechanisms such as hunting
          in response to concerns of American citi-                      seasons, bag limits, license requirements, etc.
          zens about the many forms of wildlife that                     • Science is the proper basis for wildlife pol-
          seemed to be disappearing all around them                      icy. Fair, objective and smart decisions must
          in the 1800s and early 1900s.                                  be based on sound science and the work of
            In early America, few laws existed to pro-                   professional wildlife biologists.
          tect fish and wildlife. These natural resources were often   • Wildlife can be killed only for a legitimate purpose.
          exploited on a scale that would be hard to imagine today.   This shared resource must not be wasted. Laws prohibit
          Market hunting — taking game to sell meat, skins and   killing wildlife for frivolous reasons.
          feathers commercially — along with unregulated com-  •  Some species, such as migratory birds, are international
          mercial netting and fishing drastically depleted some   resources. Nations have a shared responsibility to man-
          wildlife populations in those early years.           age these species across national boundaries.
            Ever heard of the passenger pigeon? The heath hen?   •  Keeping with democratic principles, governments allo-
          The Labrador duck? Each of these species is now extinct,   cate access to wildlife without regard for wealth, pres-
          and market hunting gets the lion’s share of the blame.   tige or land ownership.
          Other species narrowly escaped total annihilation at the   With these principles as guides, the Wildlife Depart-
          hands of unregulated hunting, including bison, white-  ment has restored wildlife populations and conduct-
          tailed deer and wild turkey.                       ed important habitat restoration. And in concert with
            When citizens began  to see  the declines, several   engaged landowners, the amazing rebound of animals
          important conservation laws were created: the Migratory   including wild turkeys and white-tailed deer has become
          Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the Migratory Bird Hunting   humankind’s greatest conservation achievement.
          and Conservation Stamp Act of 1934, the Federal Aid in
          Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, and the Federal Aid in   Sincerely,
          Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950. Collectively, these
          acts laid the foundation for the North American Model,
          which is defined by seven principles:
          •  Wildlife is a public resource. It is independent of the   Wade Free,
            land or water where the wildlife may live. Governments   Assistant Director of Operations
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