I lived in the US for several years, where hunting (for ducks, deer, bear,
etc etc) is incredibly popular. For example in many parts of rural
Pennsylvania (where my wife grew up) the opening of deer season is a school
Uncontrolled hunting contributed to the sharp decline of many bird species
in the US (ducks, swans, wild turkey, etc), including some extinctions
(Passenger Pigeon, Eskimo Curlew, Great Auk). Finally the hunters realised
that this was a problem and that habitat loss was also decreasing bird
numbers and now hunting organisations (e.g. Ducks Unlimited) are actively
involved in habitat conservation (look at the website www.ducks.org and you
might think it was a conservation organisation!), and the fees from hunting
licenses (which in the US must be astronomical) are mainly used for
purchasing and managing habitat for wildlife. Many of the best wetlands for
birdwatching in the US are game reserves, most of which are actively managed
to increase waterfowl habitat and numbers. The same may be true in the UK.
Certainly in the US it seems like hunters can have an overall positive
effect on numbers of many bird species (especially ducks) due to their
efforts at conserving and managing habitat. However a few years ago I
remember there was a bit of a flap in the birding community in the US when a
vagrant duck from the Carribean appeared at a game reserve in the south-east
US and twitchers who travelled great distances to see it were rather
dischuffed to find that a hunter had shot it!
I'd be happy to encourage responsible duck hunting in Australia if there was
a similar level of investment by hunters and the government (through hunting
licenses) in wetland protection, regeneration and management in Australia as
there is in the US.
Adelaide, South Australia
Add photos to your e-mail with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*.
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)