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Fee Hunting: A Possible Approach to Wildlife Management Jordan Smith

In a world where the human population has grown exponentially and wildlife populations and habitat have declined (Bulte and Horan), new innovative methods of wildlife management are becoming more important (Dill, Menghini, Waller, Case). One possible approach to wildlife management is fee hunting. This style of wildlife management has shown to have many potential benefits and drawbacks. Some of these benefits include an economic return which can be invested into improved habitat for wildlife (Dill, Menghini, Waller, Case), the conversion of land used for farming or ranching into wildlife habitats, and ultimately an increase in wildlife populations. Negative impacts can include a shift from public to private ownership of wildlife, population decline, and the hybridization of native wildlife (Butler, Teaschner, Ballard, McGee). Fee hunting is termed as a type of wildlife ranching where a landowner receives direct compensation for allowing individuals to hunt on the land owners property. There are 4 types of fee hunting: season-lease hunting, day-hunting programs, outfitter or broker programs, and individual animal programs (Dill, Menghini, Waller, Case). Season-lease hunting is where the land owner often provides lodging and guide services for hunters during the hunting season. Day hunting programs often function by the landowner receiving a daily fee from the hunter for the duration of the hunt. Outfitter or broker programs occur when an individual leases a tract of land from many landowners and sells leases to individual hunters for hunting access to the land. The final type of fee hunting is individual animal programs. This type of fee hunting only occurs when a landowner introduces species to land. This allows landowners freedom of the amount of animals killed since the animals are private and therefore are not restricted under state and federal hunting laws (Dill, Menghini, Waller, Case). Economic return through the implementation of fee hunting may be beneficial for not only landowners but also state and federal agencies. By diversifying land activities from normal farming and ranching, landowners could potentially avoid a loss in revenue. Further, revenue from fee hunting may be more stable than revenue from cattle (Dill, Menghini, Waller, Case). Fee hunting corporations have also contributed revenue to land owners. One such corporation, Dakota Safari, began in 1966 with 5 land owners whom charged up to $250 for lodging and guide services on private lands. State and federal agencies may also financially benefit from fee hunting (Seversen and Gartner). A current law in Texas requires landowners who implement fee hunting to purchase a shooting preserve license through the state. Within this permit, landowners are required to report data related to the harvest of big game (Dill, Menghini, Waller, Case). Disposition Landowner (for each hunter) Guide Service (to rancher) Meals Lodging Insurance Management (Dakota Safaris, Inc.) Overhead (Dakota Safaris, Inc.) Total Table 1. Disposition of the 1970 hunting fee on a daily basis, Dakota Safaris, Inc. Amount $20.00 $11.00 $9.00 $5.00 $2.00 $5.00 $10.50 $62.50

Fee hunting may be an incentive for landowners to manage for wildlife habitat resulting in increased wildlife populations. The economic return from fee hunting may influence landowners to properly manage and protect wildlife and their habitat since healthier wildlife may stimulate more income (Butler, Teaschner, Ballard, McGee). Since income may be more stable with fee hunting as compared to raising cattle (Dill, Menghini, Waller, Case), a shift may occur to raising game and reducing cattle populations resulting in less competition among herbivore game species and cattle (Severson and Gartner). In 1987, a correlation was suggested that private land in Texas was managed better in the 1980s as compared to previous decades due to a 20 fold increase in fee hunting revenue (Morrill). Although some landowners may take initiative to improve their techniques it is speculated that traditional styles of cattle management may still be used (Butler, Teaschner, Ballard, McGee). One drawback may be a shift from public to private ownership of wildlife. Since high costs can be associated with fee hunting, professionals are concerned that only the wealthy will be able to afford hunting. Further, high fencing can be associated with private lands used for fee hunting in order to retain trophy game. These high fences retain wildlife on private land preventing game movement to public areas. With nearly 70% of land in private ownership, the impacts of isolated game populations may be significant to hunters on public lands (Butler, Teaschner, Ballard, McGee). Further negative impacts of fee hunting includes the hybridization of native species and potential population decline. The stock of exotic species on private lands for fee hunting can sometimes allow exotic animals to mate with native species. This results in hybrid species. Further, when many animals are in dense populations diseases are able to spread easily (Butler, Teaschner, Ballard, McGee). This occurs because diseases have less distance to travel to another host. Some diseases can be deadly (Potapov, Merrill, Lewis). Fee hunting has the potential to be a beneficial way to manage wildlife. It can provide income resulting in an incentive to protect and manage private lands. With proper management of private land, animal populations can receive sufficient habitat for populations to flourish. Conversely, fee hunting can have opposing effect. Some of these effects include a shift from public to private ownership of wildlife, the hybridization of native wildlife, and ultimately population decline. Weather fee hunting is a beneficial way to manage wildlife or not, it is critical that we continue to explore the many potential ways to manage wildlife.

Citations Severson, Keith E. and Gartner, Robert F. Problems in Commercial Hunting Systems: South Dakota and Texas Compared. Journal of Range Management Vol. 25, No. 5 (Sep., 1972), pp. 342-345. (JSTOR) Web. 31 Jan. 2014 Butler, Matthew J., Teaschner, Andrew P., Ballard, Warren B., McGee, Brady K. Wildlife Ranching in North America: Arguments, Issues, and Perspectives Wildlife Society Bulletin Vol. 33, No. 1 (Spring, 2005), pp. 381-389. (JSTOR). Web. 2 Feb 2014 Bulte, Erwin H., Horan, Richard D. Does Human Population Growth Increase Wildlife Harvesting? An Economic Assessment The Journal of Wildlife Management Vol. 66, No. 3 (Jul., 2002), pp. 574-580. (JSTOR). Web 2 Feb 2014 Morrill, W. I. Fee access views of a private wildlife management consultant Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference 52:530543. (JSTOR). Web 2 Feb 2014 Dill, T. O., Menghini, J., Waller S. S., Case R. Fee Hunting for Nebraska Big Game: A Possibility Rangelands Vol. 5, No. 1 (Feb., 1983), pp. 24-27. (JSTOR). Web 2 Feb 2014 Potapoy, Alex, Merrill, Evelyn, Lewis, Mark A. Wildlife disease elimination and density dependence Proceedings: Biological Sciences Vol. 279, No. 1741 (22 August 2012), pp. 3139-3145 (JSTOR). Web 4 Feb 2014