Do We Have To Choose Between Hunting OR Science?

We were mentioned in an opinion piece that criticized Vermont’s decision to increase Moose hunting permits. You’ll remember in March we updated you all on great progress made with Moose research in Vermont that resulted in a new hunting opportunity (an increase in 100 permits this year). The comment about us suggests SCI Foundation cares about trophy hunting, not science. In reality hunting is a great benefit to wildlife science, which is why we love both.

Conservation work does not always lead to increased hunting opportunities, though we’re ecstatic it turned out that way! But if we care about increasing moose numbers why are we so excited that 100 more will be hunted this year? Is the narrative true that we care more about trophy hunting than science?

More than anything what SCI Foundation stands for is the future of wildlife. Hunting is one tool on the belt that helps to ensure the future of wildlife, it just turns out to be an extremely significant one.

In 2018 Vermont F&G issued just 14 permits for moose to be hunted that year. Due to continued decline that was reduced even further for 2019 permits. If reducing hunting permits is what needs to happen to help a species recover, we fully support that. In this instance, as research continued, it was found when moose in Vermont live in a density greater than 1 per square mile, a newborn calve has so many winter ticks on it that mortality of that calve is greater than 10%. By reducing moose density to less than one per square mile, winter ticks are better controlled and moose calve rates see much higher rates of survival, which means more moose of all age classes (sustainable population) AND an increased opportunity to go hunt!

Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE hunting! But more than anything SCI Foundation exists to ensure the future of wildlife. Luckily proper wildlife conservation, and the sport of hunting, don’t conflict at all. In fact they compliment each other.