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Hunting and conservation

Conservation Northwest supports the protection and restoration of habitat for all native wildlife (including carnivores). We also support science-based wildlife management and fair chase hunting according to the laws of the state of Washington.

For wildlife and people

Hunting & conservation go hand in hand. Photo: Jay Kehne
Hunting & conservation go hand in hand. Photo: Jay Kehne

Conservation Northwest protects, connects and restores wildlands and habitat for all native species, including "game" animals. And we champion iconic wildlife in our region, including predators such as wolves, cougars and lynx. 

We support science-based wildlife management and fair-chase hunting according to the laws and regulations of the state of Washington. In fact, we have several passionate hunters on our staff.

As long as hunting opportunity is based on the science of animal population management, is done under the rules of fair-chase, and hunters hunt lawfully and ethically, we respect that hunting is an important way some people choose to experience our natural heritage, and appreciate that sportsmen and women are leading contributors to conservation.

Most hunters have a deep respect for wild areas and choose to take their passion further by becoming skilled at stalking, harvesting and cooking wild game animals. Hunters are also well-known for their efforts to pass on the importance of wildlife and wildlands to future generations.

What's more, revenue from hunting licenses as well as taxes on hunting equipment, firearms and ammunition, called Pittman-Robertson funds, are some of America's most impactful tools for supporting wildlife conservation and recovery, acquiring and maintaining public lands for habitat and outdoor recreation, and funding state and federal wildlife agencies. As much as any other conservation constituent, hunters help foot the bill.

Those who hunt and those who don't hunt share much in common. Hunters and non-hunters alike enjoy the outdoors, care about local and sustainable food, relish hiking in fields and forests, and want to pass their knowledge on to younger generations.

In 2015-2017

We're partnering with organizations including the Mule Deer Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to protect and connect critical habitat for mule deer, grouse, lynx and other species in north-central Washington's Okanogan region through the Working for Wildlife Initiative.

This effort seeks to maintain the Okanogan's working lands and wildlife heritage through land conservation, wildlife corridors, improved access for sustainable outdoor recreation (including hunting and horseback riding) and education about the importance of wildlife and wildlands for the local community. This new project builds on our experience working to create wildlife corridors for deer, elk and other species in the Snoqualmie Pass area through our I-90 Wildlife Corridor Campaign.

We also support efforts by state, federal and university researchers to better understand the impact wolves have or do not have on deer, elk, moose and other ungulate populations. Predator recovery and management needs to be successful for all wildlife, not just wolves and other carnivores. Solid scientific data helps make that possible. 

Combating poaching

We're working with Eyes in the Woods, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and other organizations to continue to host trainings and seminars around the state to help hikers, hunters, anglers, horsemen and other citizens better report and reduce poaching, habitat destruction and natural resource abuses that hurt wildlife. 

To further combat poaching, we offer standing rewards for information that leads to a poaching conviction in Washington state, with up to $7,500 available. Whether it’s deer, elk or rare predators, poaching is an unacceptable abuse of our shared natural heritageNo matter how one feels about predators or other wildlife, poaching is never OK.

Learn more about our reward fund to help stop poaching

Conservation-oriented wildlife management can include hunting

Hunters including Theodore Roosevelt, John James Audubon and Aldo Leopold were some our nation's first and most impactful conservationists, and their legacy lives on today. In Washington state and across the country, hunters contribute significant time, energy and funding for conservation causes. We deeply appreciate these efforts. Hunter and angler conservationists are an important part of our "conservation community".

For an excellent overview of the "North American Model of Wildlife Conservation", which includes fair-chase hunting, public access, bans on wastage of meat, and conservation-oriented wildlife management, we encourage you to watch this video from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

We're working with partner organizations and state and federal wildlife agencies to expand the conservation successes of the North American Model to "non-game" animals and other important native species still in need of recovery. Learn more.

More on hunting, conservation and food 

Gaining a direct connection with food, nature and our human heritage are among the primary reasons many people hunt. The recent movement to eat leaner protein and know exactly where it comes from has been a common practice among hunters for generations. 

Few food sources are as healthy and sustainable as wild, free-range "game" meat. Most hunters take enormous pride not only in taking an animal in the field,  but in properly cleaning and processing their harvest so that they and their families can enjoy some of the best meat available anywhere. 

Despite many years of decline, including in Washington state, in the past decade participation in hunting has increased nationally, particularly among women and hunters hailing from urban areas. We hope this new generation of hunter-conservationists continues to grow. 

We welcome the support of both hunters and non-hunters in our efforts that keep the Northwest wild! 

Hunting is an important way many choose to experience our natural heritage. Photo: Chase Gunnell
Hunting is an important way many choose to experience our natural heritage. Photo: Chase Gunnell
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