Ethical issues in state wildlife policy

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Ethical issues in state wildlife policy a qualitative analysis
Bissell, Steven J
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Wildlife management -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States ( lcsh )
Hunting -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States ( lcsh )
Hunting -- Moral and ethical aspects ( fast )
Wildlife management -- Moral and ethical aspects ( fast )
United States ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, Public Administration.
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Stephen J. Bissell.

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University of Colorado Denver
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28863904 ( OCLC )
LD1190.P86 1993d .B57 ( lcc )

Full Text
Steven J. Bissell
B.S., University of Utah, 1969
M.S., University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 1971
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Public Administration

1993 by Steven J. Bissell
All rights reserved.

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Steven J. Bissell
has been approved for the
Graduate School of Public Affairs
Lloyd Burton
Holmes Rolston, III

Bissell, Steven J. (Ph.D., Public Administration)
. I
Ethical Issues in State Wildlife Policy: A Qualitative
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Lloyd Burton
The Progressive Era (1890-1930) began the modern
period of wildlife management in the United States which
culminated in the 1930s with the development of the
contemporary approach to making wildlife policy. This
approach consists of: assessing of public values,
attitudes and demands for wildlife recreation and
conservation; professional evaluation of these demands
and their effect upon wildlife populations; and policy
decisions by citizen commissions which are supposed to
reflect both public and professional perspectives.
I examined this model qualitatively by examining
attitudes toward sport hunting among various public
groups, assessing the opinions of wildlife management
professionals, and examining case histories of conflicts
in hunting policy. The purpose of this research effort
was to determine how well state wildlife commissions
reflect public values in making wildlife policy.
The research methods used to make this determination
consisted of: (1) focus groups with hunters, ex-hunters,
non-hunters, and anti-hunters in five different states;

(2) semi-structured interviews with personnel from
wildlife agencies, non-government organizations, and
academia; and (3) the compilation of five case histories
of value conflicts in hunting policy.
I discovered the values and attitudes of the public
did not appear to be well reflected in actual policy
decisions. The hunting policies studied were apparently
constructed around a narrow view of the values in
hunting. Wildlife agencies and commissions are evidently
acting along lines which exclude some public values. I
suggest a modification of the multi-satisfactions theory
to explain this disjunction. I suggest that all values
toward hunting can be seen as elastic or inelastic. The
high, or inelastic, values are those currently reflected
in wildlife policy.
I analyze this disjunction from an ethical
perspective and suggest that the land ethic of Aldo
Leopold is the best approach to ethically sound wildlife
policy and resolution of the observed disconnect. I
suggest that attaining greater cultural diversity among
professional personnel within the agencies and on citizen
commissions, strengthening the educational background of
wildlife managers and broadening the scope of wildlife
agency missions to include the larger issues of
biodiversity will resolve some of the current problems.

This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidate's thesis. I recommend/it^/Jjublrcg^ion.
Lloyd Burton

It is difficult to think of everyone who has made
contributions to my education. This thesis has been in
one stage or another for at least 20 years, so I will
probably overlook someone who has helped me. For that, I
apologize and hope they will understand.
First and foremost, my parents are responsible for
this. My father has been my life-long ideal of a scholar
and scientist. My mother has been a constant and never
questioned source of strength. I owe everything to them.
My many associates at the Colorado Division of
Wildlife have shaped this thesis by countless
conversations. Many of them will disagree with what I
have to say, but I hope they will respect my ideas.
My work at the Graduate School of Public Affairs has
been aided by most of the faculty. Lloyd Burton has
cheerfully guided this project from the beginning. Mark
Pogrebin and Franklin James served on my committee and
influenced the direction of the thesis. Sam Overman and
Peter deLeon commented on earlier versions of the basis
for the project and helped me clarify my ideas. Holmes
Rolston III at the Department of Philosophy at Colorado
State University was a valuable resource during this
project. My friend and long-time associate David
Armstrong of the University of Colorado at Boulder gave

me invaluable advise during this project and before.
Stephen Kellert of Yale University and William Shaw of
University of Arizona assisted me by reading several
versions of the study and making valuable suggestions.
The Graduate School of Public Affairs, the Western
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service supplied financial assistance.
My friend and associate Mark Duda, Executive Director of
Responsive Management assisted in many ways, but
especially by giving me sound criticism.
The Magnificent Seven: Sylvia and Bob who left the
battle too early, Ken and Rip who always amaze me, Julia
and her "pain in the rear" Mori (aka Jake), and Ann who
has traveled a long way. I thank you all.
In the end, this has' been a highly personal project
done for personal reasons. My non-academic friends have
borne the burden of my tiresome discourses, Miriam made
me go to the movies, Pat made me stop whining and Nancy
has always been there, even when she wasn't. And in the
end I found Joy.

1. INTRODUCTION ...................................... 1
2. HISTORICAL REVIEW ................................ 12
Introduction.................................... 12
The Contemporary Perspective ................ 12
The Development of Natural Resource Management 17
The Origins of Ecology and Wildlife
Management.............................. 17
The Origins of American Land Use Policy . . 23
Wildlife Policy in the United States
Before the Civil War.................... 27
Wildlife Management from the Civil War to the
Progressive Era.............................. 29
Aldo Leopold and the Progressive Era ... 31
Contemporary Wildlife Policy .................... 40
Wildlife Management from 1930 to the
Present................................. 40
The Modern Dilemma............................... 44
Wildlife Policy in Crisis ................... 44
The Re-emergence of Ethics in Wildlife
Policy.................................. 48
Summary.......................................... 55
3. FOCUS GROUPS...................................... 57
Methods........................................ 57
Introduction ................................ 57
Focus Groups Used in This Study........... 62
Analysis..................................... 69
Results.......................................... 72
Attitudes Toward Hunting .................... 72
Disvalues in Hunting ........................ 82
Attitudes and Knowledge of State Wildlife
Agencies................................ 89
Attitudes and Expectations in Wildlife
Policy.................................. 91
Conclusions...................................... 95
A Word of Caution............................ 95
Attitudes and Values of Hunters ............. 97
Attitudes of Ex-Hunters..................... 99
Attitudes of Non-Hunters ................... 100
Attitudes of Anti-Hunters .................. 102
Summary and Major Finding .................. 103
4. INTERVIEWS......................................106
Methods .........................................106
Introduction ............................... 106
The Interviews Used in This Study............107

Attitudes and Values in Hunting ............. 115
Disvalues in Hunting ........................ 122
Attitudes, Values and Disvalues in Anti-
hunting ......................................125
Attitudes, Values and Knowledge about
State Agencies...........................129
Major Findings................................141
The "Field of Dreams" Theory..................143
The Participatory Policy Theory ............. 144
5. CASE STUDIES.................................... 147
Introduction .................................... 147
Colorado Black Bear Hunting.......................149
California Black Bear Hunting ................... 158
Arizona Elk Hunt . ........................... 166
Pennsylvania Wild Turkey Hunting ................ 168
New Hampshire Deer Hunting........................172
Summary........................................ 173
Summary of Findings..............................175
Recommendations ................................ 184
The Role of Environmental Ethics in
Wildlife Policy Formulation.............184
The Training of Professional Personnel . 189
The Staffing of wildlife Agencies ......... 190
The Adoption of Biodiversity as a
Management Goal........................190
Hunting and Other Wildlife Recreation
The Incorporation of Modern Environmental
Economics into Management Decision
Ecosystem Stability and Time Horizons for
Management Goals ......................193
Alternatives to Reform......................194
A. FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE .................... 197
B. INTERVIEW GUIDE ................................199
BIBLIOGRAPHY ......................................... 200

Chapter 1
In 1970 I was the informal state coordinator for the
first Earth Day in Nevada. Like many environmentalists at
that time, I had loose connections with the Vietnam war
protest and civil rights movement. In my mind and I think
in the mind of most environmentalists, the protection of
environmental values was as much a moral issue as the war
protests or civil rights. We did not see the
environmental movement as technical or scientific;
environmental protection was political and a matter of
rights and wrongs.
On Earth Day I was involved in a nonviolent protest
at a bottling plant where plastic soda-pop bottles were
being introduced and in a series of "teach-in" activities
at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. It was a good
era although with some problems and most of us felt that
the end to environmental degradation was right around the
Twenty years later, on the second big Earth Day I
was giving talks about bat conservation to elementary
school children and then listening to politicians give
talks about the need for a national recycling policy. I
had a definite sense of frustration that the
environmental movement had gone mainstream but the issues
had remained the same. The environmental movement had

stalled on issues of science and economics, but the
larger question as to the morality of pollution, the
status of endangered species, and other major
environmental issues was still unresolved.
Following graduate school I had worked for a short
time as an environmental consultant and had found that
very distasteful. I felt that my job was finding
loopholes for firms to slip through the emerging laws
about pollution control. I felt fortunate when I had the
opportunity to go to work for a state wildlife management
agency, especially since my first assignment was in law
enforcement. I thought that I would be joining people
who, like me, were primarily concerned with the broad
issues of environmental protection. Like many western
environmentalists, I was and still am a hunter and
fisherman. But I did not consider my environmental
interests in wildlife management to be an issue of my
recreational pursuits. I quickly found that I was among a
relative minority in the profession of wildlife
management. Most, but of course not all, of my associates
were mainly concerned with issues of hunting, especially
big-game hunting.
During the next 20 years I worked in endangered
species management, land use policy and, finally,
environmental education. And while I observed many
significant changes in state wildlife management agencies

and the wildlife profession, I was still concerned that
issues of environmental protection and ideas of modern
conservation biology were scarcely being considered as
central to the organization. Despite obvious public
acceptance of the need for broad environmental protection
programs (Milbrath, 1984), state agencies remained fixed
in what Aldo Leopold (1933) had called the first stage of
wildlife management, hunting control. In 1933 Aldo
Leopold had described the wildlife management profession
as "groping" its way from issues of hunting to the
broader field of environmental control. But my
observations were that wildlife management as public
policy was still in an agony over its proper function in
the environmental era, and hunting was the metaphor for
that agony.
Hunting had been the primary concern and impetus for
early American wildlife management policy. However,
Leopold had felt that the emerging issue of environmental
protection had become more of an issue and hunting could
be safely relegated to a back burner. However, I had
observed over the years that hunting was very nearly an
obsession with state agency personnel even if they were
not personally involved in hunting. The focus for this
obsession was changing social values, declining hunting
license sales and the anti-hunting movement.

There was considerable confusion as to what the
actual issues were within the agencies. Some highly
respected professionals ranked the emerging animal rights
and anti-hunting movement as the equivalent to the
general environmental crisis (Berryman, 1987, Denny,
1973). In any rational analysis, animal rights could be
seen as just a part of the social changes in the United
States of the past several decades (Jasper and Nelkin,
1992) .
The wildlife policy model and any associated
problems had not, to my knowledge, been explicitly
expressed in the literature. However, since the time of
Leopold's seminal work in wildlife policy to the present
there has been a common theme in state wildlife policy
(Flader, 1974). Citizen commissions are appointed to
review various recommendations concerning wildlife
policy. In the case of hunting policy, these citizen
commissions are supposed to review the biological and
technical recommendations of the state wildlife
management agency. The commissions then take public
testimony and consider the attitudes, preferences and
values of the various public groups. They are then
supposed to integrate these into specific hunting
regulations and other policy documents. This is roughly
the model for the formulation of wildlife policy. While
this model for wildlife policy seems, on the face of it,
. >-

adequate for the incorporation of public values, serious
conflicts I had observed in Colorado and elsewhere in the
U. S. had led me to question whether this policy making
method was working well in practice. The purpose of this
research effort was to determine how well state fish and
game commissions actually do reflect public value in the
making of wildlife policy.
Because of the conflicts I had observed, it appeared
to me that hunting policy in the United States was being
too narrowly constructed, with regard to the values
incorporated into that policy. It appeared that not only
was hunting policy being constructed without
consideration of non-hunting values, but was probably
being developed within a narrow range of the full
attitudes and values of hunters.
The model of modern wildlife policy was developed by
Aldo Leopold and others in the heyday of wildlife policy,
the 1930s. Along with much of the modern law governing
wildlife policy, the idea of citizen review boards or
commissions was developed. I discuss this development in
detail in Chapter 2. As of 1987, 43 of the states
followed that model to a greater or lesser extent
(Wildlife Management Institute, 1987). The remaining
states had advisory boards of one sort or another, but
did not use the boards for the actual formulation or
selection of policy.

The model of wildlife policy is, of course, not
independent of other issues. Also in Chapter 2 I discuss
the general development of environmental concern as it
relates to the origins of the science of ecology. I trace
the American history of wildlife management up through
the Civil War, the Progressive Era until the present. One
person, Aldo Leopold will be seen as an important guiding
influence in the incorporation of public values into
professional judgments in wildlife management. All of it
leads to the modern condition of widespread public
concern for environmental issues and a broadening of the
role of government in wildlife policy.
If the question as to the viability of the wildlife
policy model were simply an empirical one, "Is the model
functioning as envisioned by Leopold and others 60 years
ago?," the answer would probably be "No." Langenau and
Ostrom (1984) have already confirmed the organizational
structure of state agencies in terms of the relationship
between the public, professionals, commissions, state
governors and legislatures had profound impacts on the
development of specific wildlife policy. However, the
question I was most concerned with was really an ethical
and political one, "Is the model of wildlife policy as
implemented working fairly, equitably? Are all issues of
value and public attitudes regarding wildlife resources
being considered?" My answer to those questions as a

result of the research described in this thesis is a
qualified, "No, it is not working as well as could be
expected." By "fairly" I mean that public values and
attitudes toward wildlife and hunting are diverse and
varied, but hunting policy is being constructed around a
narrow range of values and attitudes. Certain segments of
the public are not, by omission, being served by wildlife
policy. However, in this study I am not testing a
specific hypothesis, but rather conducting an exploratory
investigation into the this question. I wanted to
document whether the problem was as I had observed it;
and, if so, what were the general parameters of the
In 1992 I was given the opportunity to analyze the
problem in conjunction with another study on hunting
participation. I elected to qualitatively explore the
wildlife policy model by going directly to the various
public groups affected by wildlife policy decisions
concerning hunting. In order to compare these public
opinions with actual policy formulation, I also
interviewed professionals within and outside government
who were involved in policy formulation. I then examined
a few specific policy conflicts to see if ethical issues
and differing public values and attitudes were being
equitably resolved. In other words, I followed the policy
formulation process through the model starting with

public values and attitudes, going to professional
judgments, and finally to formal policy decisions.
In Chapter 3 I describe 13 focus group discussions I
held around the country with hunters, ex-hunters, non-
hunters and anti-hunters. I held these focus groups in
Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and
California so as to sample as broadly as possible various
groups on the values they held regarding hunting policy.
Whereas focus groups have not been widely used in
wildlife policy, it is a common technique in other areas
of public and private policy.
My interest in talking to these groups as opposed to
individuals was to gain insight into as many attitudes
and opinions of the public as possible. I was primarily
concerned about what they knew about wildlife policy,
what values and attitudes they held concerning wildlife
and what they expected from the state agency in wildlife
policy. According to the model, these should be the basic
elements of policy formulation.
In Chapter 4 I describe 41 interviews I conducted
around the country with professionals involved with the
wildlife policy process. These included state and federal
wildlife agency personnel, non-government organization
staff involved with the wildlife policy process and
academics connected to wildlife or recreational policy.
These interviews were used to assess professional

evaluation of wildlife policy and to learn if values held
by professionals were more directly incorporated into the
policy process than those of the public. This is the
second stage of the general wildlife policy model, the
exercise of professional judgment in wildlife policy.
In Chapter 5 I discuss five case histories of
conflicts in the wildlife policy process. While these
issues were not directly connected to the focus groups or
interviews, they are used to illustrate some ethical
issues which were raised in the groups or interviews. The
case histories are used to illustrate the point that
issues of ethics can pervade seemingly mundane wildlife
policy decisions. This is the last stage of the model,
the actual formulation of policies by wildlife agencies
and commissions.
In Chapter 6 I make conclusions about the results of
this study. My observation is that the wildlife policy
process is not proceeding in full consideration of public
values and attitudes. But this does not necessarily imply
that the citizen commission method of wildlife policy is
inherently flawed; perhaps it is merely wounded. The
research described below indicates that there is a
seemingly large disjunction between the values held by
the public about what ought to be wildlife policy and
what is produced by the policy formulation process.

The recommendations I make in Chapter 6 are to
repair the disconnect in the policy process and in the
agencies. I do not believe that either the agencies or
commissions are fatally flawed or irreparably inadequate.
For the most part the agencies and commissions are made
up of talented, concerned citizens and professionals. The
major problem is a narrow perspective within the
agencies, capture of the policy process by special
interest groups, including hunting groups with
specialized hunting interests, and failure to consider
diverse views in policy formulation. I suggest an ethical
analysis in order to find a remedy for the policy
problems demonstrated by this study.
This study illustrates issues which are, for the
most part, latent in the wildlife policy process
presently. The primary issue raised is the need to open
the agencies to a diversity of values and attitudes and
to increase public participation in the wildlife policy
process. Further research which is indicated by this
study includes the need to have greater insight into the
motivations, values and attitudes individuals hold toward
hunting and other wildlife related recreation. This study
suggests that while the multiple satisfactions people
hold concerning wildlife recreation is recognized (Decker
et al., 1980), it is poorly represented in the policy
process. This study has shown that differing segments of

the population hold differing values and attitudes toward
the wildlife policy process. Insight is needed into these
values as excluding them from the process is shown to be
detrimental to the function of the agencies.

The Contemporary Perspective
Environmental policy as such is too broad a target
to aim at meaningfully. Environmental policy includes
environmental health policy, e.g., air and water waste
management pollution control, water policy, land use law,
and natural resource management. The environmental era
has taught us that all aspects of environmental science
and management are inextricably interrelated within the
context of our cultural and political lives. Moreover,
much of environmental policy is in a state of confusion.
Environmental policy in the United States became a bit
muddled in the 80's and has drifted since then (Landy et
al., 1990; Portney, 1984, 1990). Henning and Mangun
(1989) and Hamilton (1990) hold that the problem of
environmental management merely needs fine tuning, but
some authors believe that environmental policy is deeply
and profoundly misdirected (see various authors in
Paehlke and Torgerson, 1990; Western and Pearl, 1989)
both in terms of conflicts with the democratic process
and in terms of how well policy deals with actual
environmental problems. There is even the view that
environmental policy is, with the apparent death of
communism, a major threat to individual liberty and

democratic process (Anderson and Leal, 1991; Bookchin,
1990; see Paehlke, 1988, for a review of this point of
These inherent conflicts concerning environmental
policy occur on several levels. A completely safe
environment with adequate and sufficient protection for
all ecological values may be a utopian ideal which could
be restrictive for individual liberties. Also many, if
not most, environmental problems are largely technical in
nature, amenable to a positivist mind-set. Thus
consideration of ethical issues such as fairness, equity
and individual liberties is seemingly not required or at
least are minimized.
William Ruckelshaus, twice Environmental Protection
Agency Director, attempted to resolve some of these
conflicts with an economic cost-benefit and enforcement
approach to environmental policy a full decade before it
was mandated by the Reagan Administration (Landy et al.,
1990:34-37). This approach seems, at least on the
surface, to be a technical approach to environmental
policy, but assumes a utilitarian ethical orientation.
Gost-benefit analysis may hamper the development of
adequate policy because those who develop environmental
policy may share utopian perspectives (Rubin, 1989).
Gost-benefit analysts, as Paris and Reynolds (1983) have
observed, can become moralists by the selective inclusion

and exclusion of costs and benefits which suit their
particular ideologies. In practice, it has been observed
that environmental policy personnel are so imbued with
technical views that they largely ignore individual
values and ethical issues (Brown, 1987) .
Environmental policy, like any public policy, is
set an arena of politics. Human action not only
contributes to environmental issues, but environmental
policy influences the lives of citizens in ways which
have long been questioned as a proper role of government
(Thompson, 1986). Economic methods, such as cost-benefit
analysis, have also been roundly criticized as
misdirected in environmental policy (Sagoff, 1986 and
1990). There is a growing body of literature which
suggests that ethical considerations in environmental
policy are at least as important as technical issues.
Bartlett (1986) has suggested that environmental
policy is different from other forms of public policy and
develops the idea of "ecological rationality." In this
scheme, the normative reasoning which applies to other
public policy cannot be applied to environmental policy.
Rather, only consideration of all ecological consequences
in the sense of a holistic approach is appropriate for
environmental policy. However, it is necessary to discuss
these issues separately until they are well defined
enough for comprehensive analysis.

While I recognized that all of the aspects of
environmental policy to one degree or another influence
others, I will separate natural resource management in
this study for the sake of discussion. This study is
further restricted to the area of natural resource policy
concerned with state wildlife policy as, except for
specific topics (for examples see Mangun, 1991) that
level of natural resource policy has not been fully
developed as a separate field. So as to accomplish a
meaningful approach to a field which is not as yet
partitioned, I investigated the normative aspects of
hunting policy, but other wildlife policy and natural
resource topics will be discussed tangentially.
It appears from the literature that hunting has not
been well developed as a separate policy topic and as
such it is an policy issue worthy of investigation. Tober
(1981) is the only formal treatment of the topic and that
discussion was limited to the issue of economic analysis
property rights in the nineteenth century. Hunting, as
Tober (1981) has shown, is the primary method of
financing wildlife management in the United States at the
level of individual state agencies. Hunting has
historically occupied the center ring in the development
of wildlife law at both the state and federal level. The
use of hunting for some species of wildlife is a fully
developed management technique and it is a widely used

source of recreation. Hunting within the context of moral
philosophy has been examined in the literature by various
authors and found either morally acceptable or
unacceptable. There is no ethical consensus about hunting
as an individual activity or, more importantly, as public
Hunting, as such, is not a single recreational or
cultural activity. The range of policy considerations in
the United States must include legal and illegal
subsistence hunting, illegal hunting or poaching, and
general regulated recreational hunting. While I will look
at all types of hunting as the issues arise, for the most
part this study will examine the traditional types of
legal hunting done by the general population for the
purposes of recreation. This type of hunting is generally
called "sport" hunting.
There is currently a robust, vocal, and perhaps
general, public attitude that views some types of hunting
as morally wrong. There is a vocal, but minority view
that all hunting is morally wrong. Although there is wide
disagreement about the general morality of hunting, there
is only a minority opinion in the United States which
holds that hunting as a wildlife management tool and as a
recreational activity should be eliminated. Advocates of
hunting and wildlife management agencies have reacted to
some anti-hunting views by aggressively defending hunting

as a policy and as a valid recreational activity. Hunting
is thus an important policy issue as it involves
conflicting values and attitudes. Hunting has also been
used as an example of both a worthwhile and an improper
environmental ethic. Hunting is a focal point for many
issues in public wildlife policy and the development of
normative elements of environmental policy.
So as to understand the unusually tight connection
of the science of ecology (as opposed to the popular
perceptions of ecology as a social movement) to natural
resource policy, it is necessary to look at some
historical views. It is this historical view which ties
in the elements of natural resource management and
wildlife policy to the bigger picture. This historical
view includes the people and social movements which
influenced modern wildlife policy as well as the
evolution of the science of ecology. If, as I believe,
there is an agony of conflicting interests in modern
wildlife policy, then it is of some value to investigate
the historical precedents for that agony.
The Development of Natural Resource Management
The Origins of Ecology and Wildlife Management
Wildlife management is essentially a subset of
natural resource management. These management disciplines
find technical roots in the science of ecology especially

as it deals with biological relationships. The technical
aspects of public policies which direct wildlife and
natural resource management are also related in to
ecology. And, the "laws" of ecology tell us that
everything is interconnected and going somewhere
(Commoner, 1974). The extended metaphor is to think of a
tree or bush as seen through time-lapse photography;
constantly branching and growing, with some branches
becoming main trunks, some major branches, some minor and
some leading to quick terminations. It is possible, but
probably not worthwhile to follow all parts back to the
main trunk and hence to the roots where a different level
of branching begins to occur. In this case it is most
profitable to look at some, a few of the major trends in
ecology, natural resource management and wildlife
management, especially those producing contrasting views
of science and policy.
These major bifurcations, in the sense that I am
employing the term, are sometimes the paradigm shifts
which seem to occur in science (Kuhn, 1962) and at other
times are political or social shifts. Because my topic is
the ethical issues in wildlife management policy as
viewed within the field of natural resource management,
it is most useful to discuss the changes in scientific
thought as they pertain to the field of ecology. The
social and political changes are those in natural

resource management and wildlife policy. I attempt, from
my own perspective, to follow the several issues as they
lead to the modern condition of wildlife policy and
environmental ethics in the United States.
One of the starting points for my discussion is the
bifurcation of ecology. This point is subjective in that
it does not consider to any great degree the issue which
led up to the bifurcation, nor does it trace out all of
the various branches and stems which resulted from the
bifurcation. Worster (1977), who introduced the idea that
ecology had dual origins and from whom much of this
discussion is drawn, placed the first bifurcation in the
mid-eighteenth century. The traditions of biological
science had, for the most part, been in what could be
termed the "naturalist" style of science. This tradition
found contentment and reverence in nature as well as
evidence for a creator in the complexity and
The leading proponent then was the vitalist Gilbert
White. Vitalism was a philosophy, common in the sciences
at that time, which placed some mysterious "vital" force
in animate objects which gave them life, but was not
detectable by normal scientific means. The vital force
impelled the organism to higher perfection and was the
explanation for observed evolution of species. Vitalism
more or less required the existence of a higher

organizing force, a creator of life. This line of
reasoning would lead to Thoreau and Muir (Fox, 1981) in
the late nineteenth century and perhaps Barry Commoner
(1974), Naess (1989; also see Devall and Sessions, 1985)
and some other environmentalists of today, it is one of
the origins of the idea that ecological relationships are
moral because nature has intrinsic value in the form of a
vital force, independent of human valuing systems.
A modern manifestation of the vitalist tradition may
be the "Gaia Hypothesis" as proposed by Lovelock (1979;
also see Williams, 1992:3-9)). This view holds that the
planet Earth is a single living organism and that life on
and in the planet has a certain level of consciousness
(or vitality) down to the level of individual cells.
Whether this hypothesis is to be taken merely as a
metaphor or literal is problematic. However, the idea has
captured the imagination of some philosophers and
environmental managers (Gadon, 1992; Miller, 1991), who
view all environmental contamination or loses of
biological diversity as inherently global problems with
inescapable consequences.
The other great tradition in ecology in the
eighteenth century was that of Carl von Linne, also known
as Linnaeus, the great organizer of biology. This
tradition directly placed the creation species in the
hands of the Christian God and organized nature into

artificial categories to explain what appeared to be
potential orderly complexity, not chaos. Linnaeus used
the metaphor of economics to explain the
interrelationships of nature and attributed them to
"oeconomia," the will or dispensation of God. This line
of reasoning places a moral imperative on humans to act
as stewards of nature.
The word "habitat" was originally used as a verb by
Linnaeus with his binomial system to describe an
organism. In other words, along with the artificial
system which placed organisms in relation to one another,
Linnaeus introduced the idea of describing animals in
relation to their environment. While some historians of
science might quibble about the contribution of Linnaeus,
I think that the great tradition of descriptive science
as used by Linneaus is still a major force (Mayr, 1982).
The idea that organisms are best understood within the
context of their environment is as viable today as then.
This contrasts sharply with at least one modern view of
biology which places the whole organism as secondary to
the sum of its parts, especially its inter-cellular parts
(Lewontin, 1992) The view that organisms are independent
of their environment except in a loosely arranged fashion
diminishes the moral elements of any such relationship.
This modern view of biology is best seen as
beginning with the publication of The Origin of Species

in 1859 by Charles Darwin (1872). There is no doubt that
one result of Darwin's work was the development of modern
ecology and one other obvious result was the elimination
of the necessity for God's hand or for a vital force in
nature. At one stroke, Darwin more or less crippled the
two main branches of biology and ecology at that time.
His theory paved the way for the development of ecology
as a distinct science based, for the most part, on
evolutionary principles.
Darwin struggled with his dilemma for 20 years. He
was aware that his theory of natural selection did away
with the need to resort to higher power to explain the
existence of species or the apparent "plan" of nature. At
least some of Darwin's biographers feel that his internal
struggle with religious beliefs was responsible for the
delay in publication of his theory (Desmond and Moore,
1991) .
At any rate, by the middle of the nineteenth
century, two main traditions in ecology were present in
Europe and both affected the development of the science
in America. The one tradition was the romantic,
naturalist tradition and the other was the more
utilitarian, "hard" science of ecology. Both schools
contributed to the development of wildlife policy and the
tension between them is, in part, responsible for the
modern dilemma in wildlife policy. However, this tension

also contributed to an approach through environmental
ethics to resolve the conflict.
The Origins of American Land Use Policy
The history of wildlife policy runs parallel to the
history of land use policy in the sense that they were
going on simultaneously. The convergence of the issues
began in the early part of this century and continues
From earliest times, wildlife was not considered
property in any real sense. Wild animals were as the air
or sunshine, free to whomever wanted or needed them.
However, Leopold (1933:5) found biblical evidence for the
systematic management of wild animals for recreational
use and subsistence. Gilbert and Dodds (1992) traced
formal wildlife policy issues from the seventh century
through modern wildlife management. Most of these
management programs, if they can properly be called such,
dealt with the ownership of wild animals. For most of
human history, the idea of ownership of land and
ownership of wild animals was connected. Land was simply
there to be used and held by whoever could do so and wild
animals could be taken by anyone under only the most
casual constraints. Most of these constraints were
restrictions placed on common folk by the monarch. Wild
animals were considered to belong to the gods and the

monarch, as the agent for the gods, could restrict their
The signing of Magna Carta recognized the concept of
land as property and the adjunct Charter of the Forest
placed wild animals in the ownership of the state as it
represented the rights of all citizens. The Magna Carta
also restricted the King from issuing any more permits to
take fish from the waterways using traps or "weirs," but
this was to aid navigation, not to protect the fish
(Bean, 1983:11-12).
However, the ownership of land dominated the issue
of access to natural resources, especially as it pertains
to the development of natural resource policy in the
United States. The early immigrants to the Americas were
the proletariat of Europe. They were the landless and one
of the major reasons for coming to America was to acquire
access to natural resources, especially the land.
Wildlife policy followed land policy at least until the
early part of this century.
The idea of land as property was adopted with a
vengeance in the United States; so much so that until the
adoption of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in
1976, the statutory land use policy of the federal
government was to place the unreserved lands into private
or state ownership or to use it for short-term economic
benefits (Coggins and Wilkinson, 1987:47). The idea of

permanent retention and conservation of public lands had
been practiced since the 1890s in the National Park
system and later in wilderness areas, but the idea did
not reach full development until recent times.
The stages of land policy, as described by Clawson
(1977) and elaborated on by Coggins and Wilkinson (1987;
also see Schoenbaum, 1985) at the federal level, were:
the acquisition of lands into the United States, the
disposition of public lands to the states and private
individuals, the reservation and withdrawal of some
public lands for management for the benefit of all of the
citizenry, and the modern era of permanent retention and
management of federal lands.
The period of acquisition was from the time from the
founding of the original 13 colonies up to and slightly
after the Civil War. The federal government actively
sought to acquire land by treaty, purchase and force of
arms. The major actions before the Civil War were: the
Louisiana Purchase, the Florida Acquisition, the
acquisition of Texas, the Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo
and the Gadsen Purchase in the Southwest, and the Oregon
Compromise. Following the Civil War came the Alaskan
Purchase. These actions, with some minor details omitted
here, created the modern shape of the United States.
Proceeding at somewhat the same time, but reaching
its zenith following the Civil War was the era of

disposition of the public domain. The earliest
dispositions were to farmers and other settlers. These
programs primarily recognized the legal rights of
squatters to take and hold land, especially in the west,
which was not otherwise being used by Europeans. Native
Americans were not, for various reasons, considered to
have property rights in the land. Following disposition
to settlers, there were grants to new states in the form
of the so-called 11 school" lands. This idea is more or
less intact today, with one section per township, or
about 4% or 5% of land in each state belonging to the
state for the purpose of raising funds for public
In the western United States other programs of
disposition of public lands greatly impacted the
development of the country. These were primarily the
expansion of grants to encourage settlement of the West,
mineral and mining grants and grants to railroads to
promote transportation over the vast new country.
The early stages of land use in the United States
came to a head following the Civil War. The Civil War was
a national venting of conflicts in American society.
Somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 Americans lost
their lives; there was hardly a home in America which did
not have a father, brother, uncle or friend dead or
crippled from the war. The wild expansion into the West

following the war looms large in our collective memories,
but in reality it was a very short period. While we think
of the expansion of the West in rural, agrarian terms, it
is probably more accurate to think of the expansion of
the west in terms of the growing urban areas in the east
and Midwest (Cronin, 1991). The catharsis of the Civil
War and the expansion of the cities caused a collective
reevaluation of our relationship with the land. As a
nation we saw that the era of expansion and acquisition
was over, the time had come for a wiser use of the land
than converting it to private and state ownership. This
movement became collectively known as conservation, which
was one of the first great populist movements in America.
The political and moral climate was ready for the
progressive era and for the re-emergence of the moral
consideration of our relationship with natural resources
and specifically with wildlife.
Wildlife Policy in the United States Before the Civil War
Leopold (1933) identified five stages of wildlife
management. The first two are control o' hunting and
predator control. Until the Civil War these were the
primary concerns with wild animal management in America.
The ownership of wildlife was an issue mostly of whomever
could reduce it to possession. The federal government had
some interest in interstate commerce and the individual

states had some interest in protection of some species,
but for the most part there is little in the way of
significant activity in wildlife management. Control of
predators was generally accepted as a proper function of
government and there was little or no control on the
killing of wolves, coyotes, fox and other "vermin"
(Dunlap, 1988) .
At the federal level, the most significant action
was the establishment of a Department of the Interior in
1849. This was an organizational action which placed
several federal functions in one cabinet level
department. In 1839 the first National Park in Hot
Springs, Arkansas, was established. There is no real
indication that this was done with wildlife in mind, but
it was a significant action in natural resource
management as it presaged the era of natural resource
The first Supreme Court action involving wildlife
was in 1842. In Martin v. Waddell1 the court evoked Magna
Carta in holding that citizens did not have unlimited
rights to wildlife, but that the states were actual
owners of wild animals (Bean, 1983). This decision was to
set the stage for the major developments in wildlife
policy in the first half of the century. *
^.S. (16 Pet.) 367, (1842)

Most of the state activities before the Civil War
were in the closure of hunting seasons or restrictions on
the methods used in taking wildlife. However, several
states had begun to establish game warden systems, and
the beginnings of wildlife commissions could be seen in
such states as Missouri and Massachusetts (Belanger,
1988) .
Wildlife Management from the Civil War to the Progressive
What is cause and what is effect is far from clear
during this period. However, clearly the Civil War marked
a profound change in the American approach to natural
resource management, including wildlife policy. I believe
the horror toward the Civil War was acted out in the
chaotic expansion into the west from 1865 and culminated
in the progressive era around 1890. The United States had
reshaped itself from a loose federation into a unified
republic. The idea of the union became te permanent
ideology of America.
In 1885 the federal government established the
Bureau of Biological Survey. The Biological Survey was
responsible for several major surveys of the west and the
beginnings of natural resource management are to be found
here. The Biological Survey became the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service within the Department of Interior in

It was during this time that individual states began
to require hunting licenses and to regulate hunting in
ways other than simple closures. By 1880, all of the
states had game laws of one sort or another. These
included bag limits, prohibitions on taking certain
wildlife species (hence the idea of "nongame"), seasonal
closure on hunting and the beginnings of the end for
market or commercial hunting.
Taken as a whole, the primary issue of wildlife
policy in the nineteenth century was the ownership of the
wildlife. Tober (1981) has detailed this debate. It
involved hunters, dealers in game-meat and hides and
landowners. At the beginning of the century, wildlife was
property held in common and the issue of ownership was
settled by simple possession. Land use at the beginning
of the century was virtually unregulated and excepting
use on public lands, this did not change much during the
century. By the end of the century, however, wildlife was
viewed as belonging to the states and taking was only
done at the permission of the state. The federal
government had begun to exert an influence, but the major
era of federal involvement in wildlife policy was yet to
The primary beneficiaries and advocates for public
ownership of wildlife were organized hunters; those who
hunted for recreation and were intensely concerned in the

continuation of wildlife for hunting and the conservation
of natural resources. Belanger (1988) has given an
account of the activities of some organized hunting
groups during this period. The importance of the role of
non-governmental organizations in wildlife policy remains
of major influence today (Tober, 1989:161-197). If it had
not been for these groups, many of our present wildlife
policies would not have been implemented. And, it should
be remembered, these early conservation efforts were
headed by groups whose primary interest was hunting, not
environmental protection. America at this time was still
firmly in the era of utilization of wildlife (Bean,
1983) .
However, much abuse of wildlife remained and by the
1890s it became obvious that many species of animals,
especially game animals were in decline. With the
beginning of the Progressive Era, state and federal
governments began to take a hard look at natural resource
management, including wildlife policy.
Aldo Leopold and the Progressive Era
The Progressive Era as far as natural resource
management is concerned came when the Forest Reserve Act
became law in 1891. This essentially ended the great era
of disposition of public lands and ushered in the era of
reservation and withdrawal. The doctrine of efficiency in

government began to prevail. Natural resources which had
been seen as something to be exploited at the beginning
of the century were now viewed as something the
government should manage for the greatest good for the
greatest number over the longest period of time. This
political dogma, which is directly traceable to the
utilitarian philosophy of Bentham, became known as
"conservation," or at least conservation as understood at
the turn of the century.
Although Aldo Leopold came late in this period, the
impact of the progressive era on wildlife policy can best
be seen in terms of the professional development of
Leopold. Aldo Leopold was from the progressive era, but
he was not of it. Leopold is rightly seen as the seminal
thinker, writer, scientist and administrator in wildlife
management (Flader and Callicott, 1991). Leopold's
training and early career were firmly in the age of
progressive politics and efficiency in natural resource
conservation. However, Leopold was not a central figure
in public policy at the height of the progressive era,
and although he was clearly an advocate of mainstream
progressive thinking early on, he just as clearly was
rejecting the idea of efficiency as the central measure
of governmental management as the progressive era came to
a close. Consequently, although the science and policy of
wildlife management has populism and progressive politics

at its origin, neither populism nor progressive politics
fully explains the development or history of wildlife
Hofstadter (1969) places the populist movement and
the progressive era in American politics from about 1890
until about 1914. This period overlaps Aldo Leopold's
education and early career exactly (Meine, 1988). Leopold
was raised in a firmly middle class family and given an
above average education for the period. There is no
evidence that either Aldo or his family was particularly
liberal or conservative, using ordinary terminology.
There is little in the early writings of Leopold to
suggest an interest in politics per se. He was active in
politics only as fair as they influenced wildlife
management on the National Forests (Brown and Carmony,
1990:5-14). He did not ignore politics in his early
writing so much as to skirt the issue. When mentioned,
political arrangements were discussed by Leopold in light
of equal access to natural resources, but not directly as
political issues (Leopold, 1916, 1919). Early in his
career, Leopold was concerned with making wildlife
resources available to all citizens instead of being
subject to market economics (Leopold, 1915, 1918a).
However, by the end of his tenure with the U.S. Forest
Service in the Southwest, he became openly hostile to
economic development as the measure of success (Leopold,

1923). His final publication as a Forest Service employee
questioned "whether we too have forgotten that economic
prosperity is a means, not an end" (Leopold, 1928).
Leopold's attitude was not to improve. By the time
his full statement of wildlife management was to come out
(Leopold, 1933) he barely hid his contempt for political
issues. In his book on wildlife management, he devoted
only six pages to administration, organization and
political issues. He listed criteria to judge
administrative effectiveness and labeled all of them "the
antithesis ... of partisan politics" (1933:408). He
also held at this time that the type of organizational
structure of wildlife management agencies was immaterial
as long as personnel were dedicated and the science was
What then, is the connection between Leopold and the
Progressive Era as it pertains to the origins of wildlife
policy? Hofstadter (1969) marked the Progressive Era as
one of a transition from agrarian to industrial economy,
and from elitist to populist politics. Hays (1959), on
the other hand, specifically considered conservation and
natural resource management as changing from exploitative
to scientific management during the progressive era. This
latter view is clearly the role of Leopold.
Hays (1959) did not so much as mention Leopold in
his discussion of conservation in the Progressive Era. I

see two reasons for this: Hays' discussion was limited to
the period before 1920 and Leopold's major contributions
came after that, and Hays did not consider Leopold and
the origins of wildlife management as part of the
progressive era. As far as conservation and progressive
politics are concerned, the major battle had been fought
well before Leopold's entrance (Penick, 1968). Leopold's
own interest in politics and active involvement was low
key through the 1920s, resurfaced in the 1930s especially
at the national level and was most evident at the state
level in the 1940s when he served as state Wildlife
Commissioner (Meine, 1988:445-516). From the 1920s on,
Leopold's overwhelming interest was in the science of
wildlife management, but this should not be taken as
unimportant in the development of the political nature of
contemporary wildlife policy. As we shall see, the
inordinate emphasis on the scientific end of wildlife
management and the relative unimportance on the
administrative forms of wildlife management can be said
to haunt us today (Langenau and Ostrom, 1984).
There were three broad themes coming to a nexus
around the turn of the century in American wildlife
management. The first was the transition from private to
public ownership of wildlife and the emergence of the
federal government as a player in wildlife policy (Bean,
1983). The second was the increased emphasis on

professional natural resource management through
scientific training and the emerging discipline of
ecology which influenced professional scientific non-
governmental organizations (Belanger, 1988; Hays, 1959;
Worster, 1977). The third was increased demand for public
participation in policy decisions (Hofstadter, 1969).
Leopold was clearly aware of the first trend when he
called for joint state and Federal management of wildlife
on the National Forests using scientific techniques of
forestry (Leopold, 1918b). The second trend is pervasive
in Leopold's writing and life. Leopold's development as a
scientist and ecological thinker was reflected in his
commitment to professional organizations and scientific
management (Flader, 1974; Meine, 1988). The third trend
is seen in Leopold's long-term efforts to place citizen
review panels in the decision making process. This last
trend resulted in the formation of a "game commission" in
Wisconsin in 1926. However, the political seduction of
the commission idea was immediate and Leopold expressed
contempt for the idea through the 1930s (Leopold,
1933:408; Meine, 1988:250-253), although he was to later
relent and become a commissioner himself.
Leopold's predecessors were more firmly of the
progressive era than he. Ernest Thompson Seton, Vernon
Bailey and C. Hart Merriam all made contributions to the
early science of wildlife management and ecology

(Worster, 1977:189-254). Whereas Seton was primarily an
advocate of hunting and Bailey and Merriam were concerned
with classification and distribution of wildlife, all
shared in the efficiency approach to wildlife. The main
issue at this time was predator and pest eradication, a
cause which Leopold shared through the 1920s. Merriam and
Bailey were government scientists in the Bureau of
Biological Survey. Merriam split with the Bureau over the
issue of predator control. Leopold remained an advocate
of predator control long after many of his peers had
rejected the idea, probably because of his training in
forestry and the influence of the ideas of Gifford
Much has been made of the schism in American
conservation which occurred around the turn of the
century (Fox, 1981 and Norton, 1991:17-38). Gifford
Pinchot had secured, by political adroitness, a permanent
place for the U.S. Forest Service in the Department of
Agriculture. Pinchot had made the rule utilitarian
philosophy of the greatest good for the greatest number
the underlying principle by which the Forest Service
would operate (Pinchot, 1987). This idea recognized
forestry as a branch of husbandry or agriculture. The
value in the preservation of natural resources rather
than the conservation or development of natural resources
was the point upon which American environmentalism split.

John Muir was an advocate of preservation of natural
resources, especially forests and wilderness (Fox, 1981).
Muir was somewhat of a mystic and his views and
philosophy can best be interpreted as coming out of the
transcendental tradition of Ralph Waldo Emerson and then
modified by fundamentalist Christianity into a
theocentric view of nature (Callicott, 1987). Muir and
Pinchot formed an early alliance so as to influence Teddy
Roosevelt in protection of the national forests;
Pinchot's motives were the advancement of silviculture
and Muir sought protection of wilderness.
Muir and Pinchot were to part company over the
construction of a dam in Yosemite Valley. Muir fought the
construction for many years but lost and, in a likely
apocryphal ending, died of a broken heart.
Norton (1991) traces this division to the modern
development of environmental policy and relates it to the
current debate between the so called "deep" and "shallow"
ecologists. The work of Aldo Leopold is germane to the
discussion because, as Norton (1991:39-60) pointed out,
Leopold formed a synthesis of the utilitarian
philosophies of Pinchot and the theocentric views of Muir
into a "reform" environmentalism or, in my view, an
ecological and evolutionary philosophy of environmental
ethics. Nash (1982:182-199) also recognized Leopold in
the reconciliation of the utilitarian views of the

progressive era and the modern ideas of wilderness
Thus, Leopold went beyond his training and
experience in the heyday of progressive politics in
America. Leopold took the science-based principles of
natural resource management and incorporated them into a
more general view of the role of humans in the natural
world. In essence, he reintroduced the idea of morality
into our relationships with nature. Although his primary
contribution at the time was the incorporation of ecology
into wildlife policy, in the long term he is best seen as
bringing together the strands of ecology as represented
by Muir and Pinchot into the modern concept of reform
environmentalism (Norton, 1991:53-60).
By the end of the nineteenth century and during the
early part of this century, the states were viewed as
"owners" of wildlife. But consecutive court decisions
gradually eroded this idea and replaced it with the
concept of the states having an obligation of public
trust in wildlife. The Supreme Court in Missouri v.
Holland2 had held that the federal government, because of
its authority to make treaties with other nations, had
authority over wildlife which crossed international
boundaries. This case involved the state of Missouri
asserting that a federal game warden did not have the
2252 U.S. 416 (1920)

authority to enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
because of the state's primacy and ownership of wildlife.
The court ruled that the doctrine of state ownership was
not absolute and that federal jurisdiction was superior
(Bean, 1983).
According to Bean (1983:25-27) the idea of state
ownership of other wildlife was dealt a fatal blow in
Hughes v. Oklahoma3. In that case, the Supreme Court held
that states had little or no power to regulate wildlife
from interstate commerce. The Lacey Act of 1900 had been
the first actual attempt of the federal government to
regulate interstate commerce of wildlife. The courts used
this and other aspects of the commerce clause of the
constitution to further the control of the federal
government in wildlife management over the states.
Contemporary Wildlife Policy
Wildlife Management from 1930 to the Present
The period of the 1930s was the high-water mark for
wildlife management policy in the United States. Belanger
(1988:174-176) listed 32 major actions, laws or other
events which are of historical importance to wildlife
management during the ten-year period. Some of these most
pertinent to this study are: Iowa State College
established a game management program which became the
3441 U.S. 322 (1979)

model for Cooperative Wildlife Research Units as they are
now known in nearly every state; the establishment of a
Wildlife Restoration Committee to advise the federal
government on wildlife policy (Aldo Leopold was to lead
this committee); the Coordination Act allowed the federal
and state governments to work together on a national
wildlife policy; the federal government required
waterfowl hunters to purchase the Migratory Bird Hunting
Stamp which allowed for exclusive funding for federal
wildlife programs; the federal government authorized
regulation of hunting on the National Forests; the
International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
developed a model organizational bill for the creation of
state wildlife commissions; the United States and Mexico
signed a treaty for the protection of game mammals and
birds; wildlife management on Indian reservations was
assumed by the federal government, and, while not the
last event in the decade, one which shaped wildlife
policy until the present, the Pittman-Robertson Federal
Aid bill was added to the Wildlife Restoration Act.
This last action tied wildlife policy to the sale of
hunting licenses, taxes on firearms and ammunition and
other sporting goods. While generally hailed as a
landmark piece of legislation, it is also the source of
the modern dilemma. Hunting policy is supposed to serve
the needs of all society, but the funding of wildlife

management is tied to a "user tax" and this compels the
agencies to give greater consideration to the generation
of revenue and giving service to "paying customers" than
to general public values in wildlife.
During this era, the preeminence of state control of
wildlife policy began to erode. This was due to several
court decisions and the enactment of the Endangered
Species Act. The court decisions have gradually but
firmly established the primacy of the federal government
in several areas of wildlife management. While states
retain most technical control, especially regarding
hunting, this control must be within ever more
restrictive federal guidelines. Bean (1983) described
this change in detail and the following discussion is
taken from that source.
Wildlife policy in the United States had progressed
from exploitation to responsible utilization, to
management and conservation, and, perhaps, to restrictive
preservation. This had been accompanied by a change in
policy of common ownership of wildlife, to State
ownership and control, to a doctrine of public trust, and
finally to the emerging issue of federal control of
wildlife resources (Schonbaum, 1985:391). This
progressive change in wildlife policy has been marked by
a shift in emphasis from the economic uses (including
subsistence and predator eradication) of wild animals, to

recreational uses, to broader ecological concerns and
emerging ethical concerns of public trust in wildlife
management (Dunlap, 1988).
Despite these changes, wildlife management and
policy remained a minor issue in the United States until
the enactment of a few international agreements and
several pieces of federal legislation. The Marine Mammal
Protection act of 1972, The International Convention for
the Regulation of Whaling, The Convention of Nature
Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western
Hemisphere, and The Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora affected the
federal government in several areas (Lyster, 1985). The
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the
Endangered Species Act (ESA) greatly impacted the federal
wildlife management agencies and the states (Bean, 1983).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was created in
1940 by reorganizing the Bureau of Fisheries and the
Bureau of Biological Survey into one agency (Belanger,
1988:176). During the 1940s and 1950s the Fish and
Wildlife Service had been a minor recreation agency
hidden within the bowels of the mammoth Department of
Interior. However, by the early 1970s, NEPA and ESA had
made the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a major force in
government. Tobin (1990) traced the implementation of ESA
and shows that at least several federal administrations

used ESA to gain further control of all wildlife
management activities in the United States. The states
generally reacted to NEPA and ESA with similar, but less
powerful state laws. Federal laws such as NEPA and ESA
were probably seen as attacks on sovereignty by most
states at that time. I personally recall a Director of a
western state wildlife agency making the claim that ESA
would cause more species to go extinct than it would
save. Tobin (1990) made the point that the culture of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which was primarily
concerned with game animal management before ESA, may
have inhibited full compliance with the Act and slowed
endangered species recovery.
Wildlife Policy in Crisis
The major change in wildlife policy in recent years
and central to the topic of this study is the emergence
of wildlife policy from the backwater of recreation to a
national issue of environmental policy. While this is
precisely what Leopold (1933:4-5) had predicted, it was
not accepted by many wildlife professionals. Other areas
of public policy came under tight scrutiny during the
1970s and 1980s (Brewer and deLeon, 1983:1-30) but
wildlife policy remained an obscure area. Strangely
enough, there has not been a great deal of thought given

to the policy process in the profession of wildlife
management either. The classic example is that of Carson
(1962) writing about the impacts of unregulated
industrial and agricultural pollution on wildlife. Tober
(1989) discussed the role of nonprofit organizations in
Federal wildlife policy and there has been a fair amount
work on eridangered species policy (for example see
Lyster, 1985; Tobin, 1990; Yaffee, 1982). However, there
is not a robust literature on the subject and some view
the lack of formal policy process in the consideration of
wildlife issues a major problem (Clark and Kellert, 1988;
Kellert and Brown, 1985; Kellert and Clark, 1991). Romm
(1984) and Clark (1986) have shown that professional
training in the policy process is almost lacking in
wildlife science programs. This lack of policy training
includes large scale ignorance of normative issues and
public values other than the economic impact of wildlife
recreation (see several sides to this issue in Decker and
Goff, 1987).
In the United States at least, hunting has always
occupied center stage in wildlife policy. Until toward
the middle of this century all of the major court
decisions and policy issues centered on hunting (Bean,
1983). To some extent, the history of wildlife policy in
the United States is a study in attitudes toward hunting.
At the early stages, hunting was closely tied to private

property rights because it was a means of subsistence.
This gradually changed as subsistence became less of an
issue when the American agricultural revolution reached
Governmental policy on hunting parallels the change
from subsistence hunting to hunting as a form of
recreation, although it is still closely tied to personal
liberties (Belanger, 1988). Moreover, hunting, through
taxes (directly and in fees, mandatory stamps, and
licenses), became and remains the primary method of
financing wildlife management at the state level. At the
federal level, revenue connected to hunting contributes
indirectly to many wildlife management programs. Thus,
hunting is historically an integral part of wildlife
policy and, as a practical issue, is difficult to dismiss
from the policy process.
The development of specific wildlife policy,
especially as it regards hunting, is different from state
to state. Federal policies about hunting are limited to
very general issues or the Federal Wildlife Refuge system
(Bean, ,1983). While there is considerable variation, the
model for state wildlife policy is, as discussed
previously, for an appointed commission with general
regulatory authority to balance the biological
requirements of wildlife, as defined by a state wildlife
management agency, with the needs, desires, and attitudes

of the public (Belanger, 1988, and see Wildlife
Management Institute, 1987, for specific state
organizational structures and Langenau and Ostrom, 1984,
for an analysis of organizational impacts on recreation).
This process is not dealt with explicitly in most
wildlife policy literature, however, Flader (1974j, and
Meine, 1988:250-253) noted that as early as the 1920s
there was considerable debate about how well this system
functioned. Special interest groups were seen to have
"captured the hunting policy process and the desires of
the public, and more specifically, hunters, were not
being considered in the development of policy. This has
interesting parallels with contemporary issues examined
in this study (Decker and Brown, 1987). Aldo Leopold was
an early advocate of the commission system (Flader, 1974)
but later came to feel that "no particular form of
organization has any inherent merit in and of itself"
(Leopold, 1933:407).
There is, to my knowledge, no single consideration
of the general policy implications of hunting. Even
contemporary texts which are almost radical in their
inclusion of the political nature of wildlife management
(such as Gilbert and Dodds, 1992) simply assume that
hunting is a valid recreational activity and a major
component of wildlife management policy. Tober (1981)
gives the only sustained treatment of hunting as wildlife

policy, but that discussion is limited to the economic
considerations of the nineteenth century. Probably the
other major policy level discussions about hunting have
occurred in connection with endangered species policy
(Tobin, 1990). An important aspect of this discussion has
been the reluctance of state wildlife personnel to set up
endangered species policy because of the perceived
necessity to curtail traditional hunting and fishing
activities (Tobin, 1990). Aldo Leopold developed a
general philosophical attitude toward hunting as a
component of management (Leopold, 1949). However I am
unaware of any other writings on wildlife management
which comes as close to explicit policy level discussions
on hunting as such.
The Re-emergence of Ethics in Wildlife Policy
The latest issue to arise which affects wildlife
policy and is important is the emergence of environmental
ethics as a distinct school 'of thought in modern
philosophy, with its attendant impacts on public
environmental policy. Environmental ethics as a field is
gradually emerging from traditional philosophical ethics
(Hargrove, 1989; and also Callicott, 1989; Rolston, 1988;
Taylor, 1986). As a discrete philosophical discipline,
environmental ethics is directly related to real world
problems. In the view of Nash (1989), environmental

ethics, especially as reflected in public policy, can be
directly compared to abolitionist movements of the
Nineteenth Century and civil rights movements of the past
five decades. Nash holds that the future of environmental
ethics involves direct confrontation with policy
formulation as practiced in the United States and
suggests that environmental issues will become
increasingly marked by conflict in American political
Aldo Leopold (1949 and elsewhere) cast wildlife
management and other issues of natural resource
management in terms of ethical relationships with the
land. This is a radical departure from traditional
ethical philosophy and has been labeled as misdirected by
some (Regan, 1980), but is widely accepted today
(Callicott, 1989; Rolston, 1975).
While wildlife policy is of interest to most people
dealing with environmental ethics, the consideration of
specific issues ranges from wildlife being a central
point to being only tangential to the main normative
concerns. For example, Nash (1989) would place
relationships to animals and issues of wildlife policy as
a central issue in environmental ethics as would Rolston
(1988). However Nash and Rolston would probably split
over the issue of hunting, with Nash objecting and
Rolston endorsing with some caveats. Oelschlaeger (1992)

in a recent overview of environmental ethics did not give
issues of wildlife policy more than passing attention.
Early on Leopold (Flader, 1974:1-35) was aware that
wildlife policy was becoming heavily technical, perhaps
to the exclusion of ethical issues. However, this view
has not been mainstream and remains a problematic issue
today (Decker et al., 1991).
The ethical aspects of hunting in terms of
individual morality have been given much consideration in
serious literature and in various popular media. Jose
Ortega y Gasset (1972) made the most sustained treatment
as a serious philosophical statement. Gasset's view is
that hunting is an affirmative action for humans; it ties
them to their cultural and evolutionary history. In this
view, it is the total hunting experience, not the killing
of animals which is relevant. This is similar to the view
of Shepard (1973) that hunting is an affirmation of human
Causey (1989) and Loftin (1984), while not agreeing
with Gasset or Shepard in total, agreed that hunting is
not morally wrong given the caveat that it does not cause
gratuitous suffering to individual animals. Causey (1989)
makes the case that hunting may be an inherent trait in
humans and as such is outside the consideration of normal
ethics. This view has been attacked on evolutionary

grounds by Bekoff and Jamieson (1991; also see Causey,
1992) .
At the level of policy, there has been a lively
debate among environmental ethicists not only as to the
place of animal welfare and animal rights in the general
field, but whether they rightly are environmental issues
at all (Hargrove, 1992). The argument centers on issues
of ethical consideration of individuals and consideration
of systems or processes. Advocates of the animal rights
view argue that moral consideration of nonhuman sentient
beings is basic to valuing the environment as a whole.
The rebuttal is that individuals are morally irrelevant
outside their ecological context. Most environmental
ethicists do not object to hunting per se, but to certain
aspects of hunting. Animal rightists, on the other hand,
nearly always object to hunting other than subsistence
Probably the most articulate voices opposing the
views supporting hunting are those of Singer (1990) and
Regan (1983; also see Midgley, 1983; King, 1991; Singer,
1983; Wenz, 1983, 1988). Although their views are
different (Singer that of the Benthamian individual
utilitarian, and Regan that of an advocate of inherent
worth) they agree that hunting is ethically wrong and
should be eliminated at the level of public policy.

Singer (1990), more than any other, has fueled the
animal rights movement which is becoming a potent social
force against hunting policy. The actual origins of the
animal rights movements in Europe can be found in the
last century (Salt, 1980). However, as a political force,
animal rights is only now beginning to be felt in the
United States. Perhaps the most important policy issue of
the animal rights movement in the United States is an
objection to the control of wildlife management policy by
a small, but politically powerful minority, i.e., hunters
(Decker and Brown, 1987).
D. L. Shaw (1973) has examined the basic arguments
of the anti-hunting movement. W. W. Shaw (1974, 1975, and
1977) has specifically examined the attitudes of animal
rights groups and developed the seminal thoughts on the
impacts of this social phenomenon on wildlife policy.
It is worth noting that not all animal rights
proponents include hunting as an important issue. Rollin
(1981) did not consider recreational hunting as a part of
animal rights programs although he does not approve of
hunting in general. Those concerned with animal welfare
are not particularly concerned with hunting per se, but
with the aspect of cruelty (Schmidt, 1990). The issues,
positions, methods and policy implications of the animal
rights movement has been summarized in an objective
analysis by Jasper and Nelkin (1992).

Even within strict animal rights view there is some
variation. For example, subsistence hunting by aboriginal
peoples is generally considered acceptable, but only
within very prescribed limits (Wenzel, 1991). Kellert
(1978) has shown that while there is widespread
disapproval of some types of hunting among the general
population, hunting for food is not considered morally
On a more emotional plane, there is a growing
literature of almost hysterical views on both sides of
the issue of sport hunting. Amory (1974) made the point
that there is much abuse in hunting and trapping, causing
many animals a good deal of suffering. However, he
suggested perpetrating the same cruelty on the hunters
and trappers, a difficult position to understand from an
ethical viewpoint. Williams (1990) published a stirring
condemnation of hunting, hunters, and anyone silly enough
to defend hunting. What is surprising about this attack,
purple prose and inaccuracies aside, is that it was
published in a major literary magazine which shows that
the issue of anti-hunting is mainstream in America.
Anti-hunting literature abounds these days. Baker
(1985) made many valid criticisms of hunting, but the
central argument is still circular. If one agrees to
begin with the claim that hunting is morally wrong, no
normative defense of hunting policy can be possible.

Popular literature defending hunting also begs the
question because if you agree that hunting is morally
acceptable, no criticism of hunting is rationally
adequate (Howard, 1990; and Carman, 1990, are examples of
responses from the hunting side of the ledger).
The discussion of wildlife policy and hunting in
particular has attracted the attention of feminist
writers dealing with environmental issues. Merchant
(1980, and also see Keller, 1985) has noted a feminist
tradition in biological sciences, especially ecology, but
there has been a modern tendency to ignore this
tradition. Feminist thinking, according to some, has come
to represent a distinct and accepted view in
environmental policy (Warren, 1987). However, others feel
that this so-called "ecofeminist" view is not clearly a
distinct category of thinking, at least on the level of
public policy (Biehl, 1991).
Several feminist writers are opposed to hunting
(Adams, 1991:126-129; Collard, 1988:4-5). This view
centers on the fact that hunting involves killing of
individual animals and that this act of "violence"
represents male dominance behavior, especially as it
relates to dominance or violence toward women. Hunting as
an activity is predominantly male in the United States.
Most estimates are that more than 90 percent of hunters
are male (Duda, 1993; U.S. Department of the Interior,

1988), so it seems relevant to discuss the ethical
implications of this skewed demographic in wildlife
Putting aside the issue of hunting, Keller (1985)
has analyzed science from the view of feminist
philosophies. Wildlife management and wildlife policy is
heavily imbued with scientific values and the agencies
themselves are generally staffed by male biologists. The
influence of feminist thinking in the policy process may
be as important as the participation of women in hunting.
Environmental ethics is then another factor
influencing the development of wildlife policy in the
modern era. I have observed that environmental issues go
from esoteric concerns of an elite minority to major
issues in national political campaigns (Gore, 1992).
While some writers continue to treat environmental issues
as fads, for the most part environmental policy is
thought to be a major influence on the quality of life in
America (Milbrath, 1984).
This historical review has demonstrated that
environmental policy is laden with normative issues and
theoretical underpinnings; wildlife policy seems to be
lacking in serious consideration at the policy level and
the issue of hunting is a point at which differing

normative views can be sharply illustrated. All in all, a
fertile field.
Hunting is then a target to aim at to investigate
some normative issues in environmental policy. These
value components are diverse and not entirely known.
While elements of public attitudes about wildlife have
been explored and provide a good theoretical basis for
this work (D. Shaw, 1973, and especially W. Shaw, 1974,
1975, 1977; also Kellert, 1980a, 1980b, 1983, 1985,
1987), there is, to my knowledge, no serious
consideration of the normative aspects of hunting at the
level of policy.
In the following chapters I will explore these
normative aspects of wildlife policy through the
attitudes and values of individuals and groups affected
by wildlife policy, especially hunting policy. I will
also examine these issues by an examination of the
attitudes and opinions of professionals involved with
wildlife policy. Finally, I will illustrate these issues
by case histories of some recent conflicts in hunting
policies which have, to one degree or another, involved
differing public values and issues of ethical concern.

Chapter 3
In technical parlance, focus groups are group
depth interviews (Goldman and McDonald, 1987) in that a
small group of participants is interviewed at length
about a single subject. The technique was developed by
Merton and Kendall (1946, and Merton et al., 1956) in the
forties as an outgrowth of work with extended interview
techniques (also see McCracken, 1988). Merton and
associates were concerned with maximizing the validity of
their findings and were not especially concerned with
reliability at that time. They were dealing with training
films and the impact other mass media had on audiences
(Merton et al., 1946). Their intent was to get to the
heart of the issues and uncover reactions, opinions and
individual attitudes toward a variety of subjects. They
found that conducting these long interviews in small
groups saved time, but did not produce any sort of
summation of individual views. Rather the group dynamic
seemed to develop a compromise in values, some attitudes
representing a consensus, others seemingly a sort of
group attitude or value.
Sagoff (1988), in a critique of some applications of
contemporary economics, termed attitudes concerning

policy issues as the "citizen" opinion as opposed to the
"consumer" opinion of optimized self-interest. Sagoff
argued that individuals, acting in groups or singly, will
hold values and attitudes about policy issues which
seemingly conflict with attitudes of self-interest. While
I know of no validation of the idea, I believe that what
one sees in focus groups is the "citizen" opinion.
Focus groups are widely used in market research and
political science, especially applied politics, for
exposing attitudes, values, and responses to policy
issues (for example, Krueger, 1988; Templeton, 1987).
There are a developed system, fee schedule, and rules of
ethical conduct for focus groups (Greenbaum, 1988). The
technique is generally accepted as a mainstream
qualitative research technique (Morgan, 1988). However, I
am only aware of one other use of the method in the area
of environmental policy, specifically wildlife policy
(Duda et al., 1989).
In a general review of the literature, it appears
that focus groups have been widely used as a method for
obtaining background information, especially in the
construction of survey devices. One of the main uses has
been in evaluation of reactions to material presented in
electronic media (t.v. advertising), especially with
children. Focus groups have also been used to evaluate
quantitative results, such as surveys. However, focus

groups can be used as a primary data collection device
when the group reaction to varying policy issues is the
unit of measure.
Stewart and Shamdasani (1990) have provided an
excellent general summary of the technique. The
theoretical basis of focus groups is in small group
dynamics. Stewart and Shamdasani (1990) specifically
discuss intrapersonal. interpersonal, and environmental
influences as the proximal reactions of a focus group.
The attitudes and opinions expressed in focus groups are
functions of these interactions.
A survey tests the attitudes of statistical, or
demographic groups. These are groups only in the sense of
some arbitrarily selected factor such as age, sex, or
left-handedness, for example. Functional groups are
assemblages of individuals who have voluntarily or
otherwise come together and formed some sort of
relationship. Focus groups attempt to uncover the
attitudes of functional groups. They are not always
successful, but usually enough connection is made during
the focus group procedure that the dynamics of small
groups emerges.
The method of conducting a focus group used in this
study was to have a moderator conduct a two-hour
discussion on a narrowly defined central topic; in other
words, to "focus" the discussion on a single topic. The

moderator, usually someone other than the researcher, is
procedurally proficient, but is not a technical expert on
the discussion topic. This is to avoid unintentional bias
or direction from the moderator's point of view. The
groups begin as unstructured "statistical" groups, but as
interactions between group members occur, the group
becomes a "functional." Usually leaders emerge and the
dynamics of small groups keeps the discussion going. The
role of the moderator is to keep the discussion within
design parameters, but not to exert a strong influence on
the content of the discussion. In this sense focus groups
are non-directive group discussions and expose
spontaneous attitudes of small groups.
A great deal is usually made of the "random"
selection of individuals in study groups. The main reason
for random selection of individuals is to meet the
requirements of statistical tests in order to generalize
to a greater population. This restriction does not apply
to most qualitative research. In my case I have not
conducted statistical analysis nor will I generalize to a
larger population to any appreciable extent. Thus, random
selection of focus group participants, interview subjects
and policy topics is irrelevant.
The second most commonly encountered question about
qualitative techniques is that of sample size. Most
qualitative techniques and all I have used here call for

very low sample size. The reason for this is the same
reason for not worrying about random sampling, the lack
of statistical analysis. In this study, I conducted 13
focus groups, this is considerably larger than the
numbers suggested in the literature for interviews and
focus groups (see McCracken, 1988; Morgan, 1988:41-44;
Stewart and Shamdasani, 1990; Whyte, 1984).
The validity of the results is in avoidance of
selective interpretation to the extent possible,
adherence to rigorous analyses of the data and the power
of the conclusions, not in numerical tests. The
conclusions rest, to an extent, on face validity or how
well they conform to observations and personal experience
in other situations. Focus groups, as other types of
qualitative research, sacrifice reliability or the
ability to replicate results for the sake of increased
validity or relevance to specific issues.
The reason I chose focus groups rather than
individual interviews, mail or telephone surveys, or any
other method, was that I wished to find out detailed
information about the attitudes of as many different
population segments as possible and focus groups allowed
me to do that in a broad range of locations.
Additionally, I was interested in the attitudes of
"groups" as they are represented in the policy process

and I wanted to concentrate on functional groups rather
than statistical groups.
Focus Groups Used in This Study
Table 1 gives a summary of the focus groups used in
this study and shows some the characteristics of these
groups. I have conducted other focus groups on wildlife
policy topics in Colorado beginning in 1989. These
include focus groups on fishing regulations and policy,
black bear hunting and policy, big game hunting and
policy, anti-hunting attitudes, educational program
implementation and policy, attitudes about trapping and,
internal organizational principles, mission and policy.
These focus groups were all conducted in Aurora,
Colorado, and only some of these data are used for this
study. The Colorado focus groups consisting of hunters,
mixed hunters and non-hunters and the single focus group
of anti-hunters will be used in the analysis.
The selection of participants in the focus groups
was based on several factors. The focus groups were
directed at a few, usually no more than four, specific
issues (see Appendix 1 for a typical discussion guide).
Members of the focus groups were selected based on some
prior association with the issues. For example, if an
issue was declining hunting participation and license
sales, I selected individuals who, based upon records of

the state wildlife management agency, had purchased a
license in the past but no longer did so. Lists of 25 to
50 names were developed or random telephone lists were
obtained and then each person on the list was interviewed
by telephone. Individuals were invited to attend the
focus group discussion based on verbal skills displayed
during the telephone interview and their willingness to
participate. To arrive at a focus group of 10 to 12
members, 15 people were offered $30.00 to $50.00 as an
incentive to attend (the rate was determined by local
experience in focus group research).
The demographic composition of the groups as it
relates to this study can be generally categorized as,
hunters (Hun), non-hunters (N-Hun), anti-hunters (A-Hun),
ex-hunters (X-Hun), and mixed groups of hunters, non-
hunters or ex-hunters (Mx)4. Three focus groups in
Colorado were comprised of non-hunters or ex-hunters and
I used the following operational definitions in this
study: (1) a hunter is a person who purchased a hunting
license and/or went hunting in the previous three years;
(2) an ex-hunter is a person who purchased hunting
licenses and/or hunted in the past, but has not purchased
a hunting license or hunted in the previous three years;
These symbols will be used throughout the text to designate

(3) a non-hunter is one who has not purchased a hunting
license or hunted in the past; and (4) an anti-hunter is
a person who may or may not have purchased hunting
licenses and/or may have gone hunting in the past, but
agrees with statements such as "hunting is immoral," or
"hunting ought to be illegal."
In conjunction with Responsive Management, a
nonprofit program of the. Western Association of Fish and
Wildlife Agencies, I conducted eight focus groups in the
locations outside Colorado (CO). These focus groups
concentrated on attitudes of hunters, ex-hunters and non-
hunters. Two of the focus groups were conducted in
Scotsdale, Arizona (AZ), two in York, Pennsylvania (PA),
two in Manchester, New Hampshire (NH), and two in San
Francisco, California (CA)S. These focus groups were
comprised of hunters, ex-hunters and non-hunters and form
the main data base for this portion of the study. Two
groups were conducted at each location, one drawn from
one category of the public and the second from a
different category.
It was found that adherence to the above definitions
in the field was difficult because respondents to the
telephone interviews used to recruit the groups were
either confused by the questions or responded
5These symbols will be used throughout the text to designate
state the group was conducted in.

incorrectly. As a result, in the hunter groups some
people were present who more correctly met the criteria
for ex-hunters, in the ex-hunter group some people were
probably more correctly defined as hunters or non-
hunters, and in the non-hunters some people were probably
ex-hunters. I did not find people who had been
classified by telephone interview as hunters, ex-hunters
or non-hunters were who were in fact anti-hunters,
although some individuals in each of these categories
displayed some negative attitude toward hunting or
hunters. All of the members of the single focus group of
anti-hunters were also non-hunters; none of them had ever
engaged in sport hunting or purchased a hunting license.
One anti-hunter related a story about shooting a rabbit,
but it was not clear if this was in a hunting situation
or random mischief. This suggests, as Kellert (1974 and
elsewhere) has shown, that attitudes toward wildlife
cannot be classified as having simple, single dimensions.
However, these inconsistencies in the behavior of the
focus group members do not affect the interpretation of
the results and was easily separated during the analysis
The participants in these focus groups were members
of the public not directly involved in wildlife
management or wildlife policy issues in as far as the
policy process, but as users, consumers, or clients of

the policy makers. The populations from which the focus
groups were drawn were urban, suburban and rural. The
focus groups failed to represent female and ethnic
minorities in proportion to the larger population.
However, given that hunters and ex-hunters are
preponderantly white male (>90% in most populations) it
is not surprising that I failed to achieve parity.
However, feminist issues, women in hunting and issues of
ethnicity are not analyzed in detail in this study.
These focus groups were centered on attitudes about
hunting policies, participation rates and demographics,
attitudes and behaviors, values connected with hunting
and non-hunting, and reasons for dropping out of hunting.
These focus groups were part of the design phase of a
project being conducted by Responsive Management for the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the
Interior) on hunting participation.
I designed the discussion guides and protocol for
all these focus groups. A market research firm at each
location was contracted to recruit focus group
participants based on my criteria, make a suitable
location available, pay cash incentives, serve
refreshments to participants and observers, and provide a
professional moderator. The firm conducting the focus
group was asked to provide an informal analysis which was
treated as a cross-check on my own analysis.

For most policy issues, four focus groups would
probably serve as a maximum number. The number of groups
conducted is mainly a function of the desired results and
budget (estimated cost of $2000-$2500 per focus group).
If the focus group is in the nature of exploring the
issue, then one is enough. If a wider perspective is
desired, then three or four is better. There are no exact
criteria to decide the number other than the experience
of the analyst. Thus, I felt that two focus group
discussions per location outside Colorado and five focus
groups in Colorado were more than sufficient for the
purposes of this study. The focus groups used in this
study are then four consisting of hunters, two of non-
hunters, four of ex-hunters, one of anti-hunters, and
three of mixed hunters, non-hunters 02; ex-hunters.
Finally, staff members of state and federal wildlife
agencies and local academics were invited to attend and
observe the focus groups. At least some local staff and
outside observers attended the focus groups except one of
the two in Arizona and the two in New Hampshire.
Discussions with the other observers will be discussed in
this study as several highly relevant points came out
during those interactions.

1-23-91 Aurora, CO 8 1 2 9 2 11
4-15-91 Aurora, CO 6 3 3 6
4-15-91 Aurora, CO 9 1 8 1 10
4-16-91 Aurora, CO 4 8 8 4 12
4-16-91 Aurora, CO 2 2 8 6 6 12
6-23-92 York, PA 12 10 2 12
6-23-92 York, PA 10 10 10
7-9-92 Scotsdale, AZ 10 10 10
7-9-92 Scotsdale, AZ 8 8 8
10-5-92 Manchester, NH 12 10 2 12
10-5-92 Manchester, NH 2 9 11 11
11-9-92 S.F., CA 10 8 2 10
11-9-92 S.F., CA 10 9 1 10
6HUN=People who are active hunters; EX-HUN=People who have hunted in the past but no
longer do so; NON-HUN=People who have never hunted; A-HUN=People who express anti-hunting

The focus groups were video- and audio-taped and
observed unobtrusively (one-way mirrors). Analysis was
based on firsthand observation, discussion with other
observers and the moderator, comparison with independent
analysis and repeated reviewing of the discussion tapes.
Other researchers use content analysis (cut and paste) of
the typed transcripts of the discussion, but I find these
almost impossible to deal with meaningfully and expensive
to boot. I transcribed the focus groups myself, but not
verbatim. Rather, I transcribed those elements that I
judged to be most salient to this study. Each focus group
was then analyzed separately from the typed transcripts
and reviewing of the video tapes another time. These
separate analyses were then combined into a single
analysis for hunters, ex-hunters, non-hunters, anti-
hunters and mixed. Thus, the analysis of focus groups
consisted of four iterations in reviewing the data: (1)
the actual focus group observation, (2) the viewing and
transcription of each focus group (which resulted in
about 600 pages of typed transcripts), (3) the viewing
and consolidation of each individual focus group
transcript (which resulted in about 200 pages of typed
analysis), and (4) the collation of the focus group
results into the final analysis.

Analysis was based on major concepts or issues which
arose. These were recorded, or coded, and explored in
light of literature review and some theoretical
framework. These were attitudes and values toward
hunting, attitudes toward anti-hunters and disvalues in
hunting, attitudes toward the state agency, and attitudes
about state wildlife policy.
Kellert (1980a and elsewhere) has developed a
typology of attitudes toward wildlife in the United
States. Kellert showed ten primary attitudes toward
wildlife through a large series of survey devices
conducted in the United States. Attitudes in the typology
are not exclusive, but the degree each is held varies
across the population based on age, sex, education and
other factors. This typology has been used by Kellert
(1991) in Japan in policy analysis and by Eagles and
Muffitt (1990) on educational issues for children in the
United States.
Kellert and Clark (1990) have suggested that this
typology is a framework for wildlife policy development
and analysis. I have used this typology as a factor in
the analysis of attitudes toward hunting and the policy
implications of hunting. This study is not a replication,
analysis, or test of Kellert's work. I use the typology
as a heuristic device to explain attitudes and values I
observed in the focus groups. The typology of Kellert was

an initial coding factor in the data analysis and is part
of the theoretical basis for analysis. The attitudes
found by Kellert are:
Term Definition
Naturalistic: Primary interest and affection for wildlife and the outdoors.
Ecologistic: Primary concern for the environment as a system, for interrelationships between wildlife species and natural habitats.
Humanistic: Primary interest and strong affection for individual animals, principally pets. Regarding wildlife, focus on large attractive animals with strong anthropomorphic associations.
Moralistic: Primary concern for right and wrong treatment of animals, with strong opposition to exploitation or cruelty toward animals.
Scientistic: Primary interest in physical attributes and biological functioning of animals.
Aesthetic: Primary interest in artistic and symbolic characteristics of animals.
Utilitarian: Primary concern for practical and material value of animals or the animal's habitat.
Dominionistic: Primary interest in mastery and
Negativistic: control of animals, typically in sporting situations. Primary orientation an active avoidance of animals due to dislike or fear.
Neutralistic: Primary concern a passive avoidance of animals due to indifference or lack of interest.

Attitudes Toward Hunting
The idea that attitudes toward hunting are not one
dimensional is not especially new. It has been generally
accepted that multiple-satisfactions are derived from
hunting and that individuals hold a variety of attitudes
toward hunting (Bryan, 1979; Decker et al., 1980; Hendee
and Schonfeld, 1973; Hendee, 1974 are a few examples of
studies on this topic). This study confirms that concept
and furthers the idea by using Kellert's typology
(Kellert, 1980a and elsewhere) as a useful device to
describe those attitudes. I will emphasize some attitudes
which I found in this study and have not been fully
discussed elsewhere or have only been explored
In the following analysis I will use quotes from
some focus groups which illustrate the attitude or value
involved. Generally there were many examples of these,
but I have chosen a few which best express the attitude.
Hunters typically report that "getting outdoors" is
one reason they go hunting. This naturalistic attitude is
widely expressed and was a reason given by focus group
members for hunting:
Getting out in the woods for a couple of weeks-
I have a boy 14 and he goes-it's a father/son
thing. It's nice being away from phones-we call
it business, but it's nice to get away from.
Getting an animal is icing on the cake, but we

have come to accept it if we don't-the
challenge is what I [go] for. (Hun, AZ).
I enjoy being out in the field, in the woods. I
enjoy running the dogs. (X-Hun, PA)
I went through a bad divorce and I valued the
time out in the woods to get away from it-the
peace, listen to the birds. Now I'm remarried
and I look forward to getting away-it's that
peace (X-Hun, PA)
I never realized how the wind sounds, the rain,
the different smells until I started hunting.
Now I can give that to my son. (Hun, PA)
The utilitarian attitude and value of obtaining food
are often expressed toward hunting. This attitude is
wide-spread and, as Kellert (1974, 1978) has shown,
public attitudes toward hunting as a source of food are
generally positive, even among anti-hunting groups (also
see Hooper, 1992, for a recent review). The focus groups
showed generally positive and uniform attitudes toward
hunting if the meat was consumed:
There is something earthy and elemental about
collecting your game and bringing it home and
cooking itan expression of a deep desire. (N-
Hun, CA)
I'm from Georgia [and] it was for survival. It
was a way of life when I came upit was [in
your] survival kit. In California people don't
take it [seriously], (X-Hun, CA)
I like to eat everything I hunt. I get a recipe
and try it and if I don't like it, I don't hunt
it anymore. (Hun, PA)
There's no wild game I won't eat [but] my wife
won't cook itshe's a city girl. (Hun, AZ)
The only way I can condone hunting if it was
done to thin out a pack that might otherwise

hurt itself and then only by somebody who would
use that food. What comes to mind is the
American Indian on reservationsthey should be
given the chance to hunt free game. (A-Hun, CO)
Some people think times have changed. They
think that we no longer need to go out and get
our food, they think that [hunting] is just for
sport and that those timeseating the meat
are past. (X-Hun, NH)
Hunters go once a year in the fall and they do
it for food. I don't know anyone who does it
just for the sport of it. (N-Hun, CA)
You should eat what you hunt. I'm not talking
about subsistence hunting. When I hunt, I hunt
for sport, but I won't just shoot something and
let it go, that's one of the responsibilities
that we have. (Hun, CO)
Part of the condition of the hunt is . .
taking that carcass home, whether or not you
use it yourself or give it away. (N-Hun, NH)
If you kill an animal you have to take care of
it otherwise it is wanton. (N-Hun, NH)
For minorities, when we hunted, it was for
survival. That is something you really wanted
to get above. It's like if you stopped hunting
for food you could concentrate on something
else and make your life better. [Hunting] was
something you had to do. I don't think for
minorities [hunting] was ever something they
did for sport. (X-Hun, CA)
It's the time [and] I'm not into hunting
anymore. If you hunt and kill something, you
should eat the game, not just for a trophy on
the wall. (X-Hun, CO)
The meat is too wild. It doesn't taste good to
me. (A-Hun, CO)
The ecologistic value of hunting was generally
expressed in terms of the positive value of hunting as a
management tool. However, some focus group members also

found value in hunting as a way of understanding
ecological relationships. All of the groups, including
the anti-hunting group, expressed the opinion that under
some circumstances hunting helped to control animal
populations. This was nearly always expressed regarding
deer and was generally seen as a positive function of
hunting. However, none of the groups, including hunters,
really understood the dynamics of wildlife populations or
the facts about local populations. For example, Arizona
hunters talked about the need to control populations and
recognized the need to have a lottery system for
licenses. They did not seem to see a contradiction in
needing to control populations and needing to restrict
numbers of hunters! However, the aspect.of hunting for
population control is widely recognized, if poorly
Hunting is uncomfortable. The positive side is
animal population control. (N-Hun, CA)
My wife grew up with [hunting] and she sees no
shame or cruelty in it. She has seen
starvation. You have to see a herd without game
management. If we get a tag, we are helping
preserve the herd. (Hun, AZ)
[I would hunt if] there was some assurance that
there was some benefit to the species. (N-Hun,
You learn how the puzzle fits together. You can
see the coyote are really fit this year because
the rain has increased the seeds and the mice
have increased. (X-Hun, AZ)
[Hunting is] being in control. In life you are
seldom in control, when hunting you are in

control. You have to think like an animal, you
have to project yourself. (N-Hun, NH)
The hard-line ecologists, [those who are] very
concerned about the environment, they see a
dichotomy between people and the environment,
they don't see hunters as beneficial to the
environment. (X-Hun, AZ)
It's the challenge to put your wit against
something in their environment. You have to
throw behind your city life, you go into their
environment. (Hun, CO)
[Anti-hunters] have a misconception of what
[hunters] are doing when [they] kill an animal.
You need the hunters or the deer will starve.
[Hunting] is not cruel, it's part of the
ecological chain [but] people don't understand
that. (X-Hun, CA)
It's terrible to see a starving deer. But
hunting didn't start out that way, it was for
survival. (Hun, CO)
Hunting is necessary for the imbalance of
nature. I don't do it, but I don't object. The
wildlife coming on these farms, what's causing
that? (Mx, CO)
The hunting season is to thin out the herds.
But they should do away with [hunting]. They
should just feed the weak [animals]. (A-Hun,
There aren't too many predators to control
these animals now. No time in the near future
can you control the herds with natural
predators. (Mx, CO)
Another reason given for hunting and a value in
hunting is the dominionistic attitude of demonstrating a
mastery over wild animals. While this may seem on of face
of it a superficial reason, it should not be discounted.
The focus groups showed that active hunters placed a high
value on this, especially the actual killing of wild

animals, but in a very reverential way and other groups
also recognized the positive values in this attitude:
It's something you can't explain, everybody
feels differentnext to godly I would say
it's the challenge to make that one instance
happen. (Hun, PA)
You are out there for the [challenge]. If
you're out there with no feelings at all, you
might as well not go. (Hun, PA)
When I grew up, it was for something to eat. My
family owns a ranch, so it was easy. But when I
moved here I had to get a license and when I go
I see people everywhere. I was use to being by
myself. I like to go backpacking [where] you
are really trying to achieve something. It's a
nice relief [to kill something] when you are
having a hard time finding them. It gives you a
sense of going back in time. (Hun, AZ)
I didn't get pleasure out of seeing something
die, but you had to do it. [Hunting] is pretty
primal, you know you can do it if necessary.
(X-Hun, AZ)
It's the thrill of the chase, not the kill.
(Hun, CO)
[Hunting] is challenging, like people go on
safari to hunt lions. (N-Hun, CA)
[Hunting] is a real adventure. You spend a lot
of time-the further you go, the bigger the
adventure facing a more dangerous type of game.
(N-Hun, CO)
I [hunted] to learn something about myself. I
[hunted] to learn how I would feel when I was
hunting. I know people who subsist that way
[and] it was a connection for me. (X-Hun, CO)
The naturalistic, utilitarian and dominionistic
aspects of hunting.have been discussed elsewhere in
considerable detail (see Duda, 1993, for a complete
summary). However, the value of hunting as a traditional

family activity or as a way of furthering social bonds
was a major feature of these focus groups. Repeatedly,
the groups expressed value in the activity of hunting
within the context of family issues and most hunters and
ex-hunters reported beginning their hunting experiences
within the family context:
I went [hunting] with my dad and uncles. When I
moved, I couldn't wait to go hunting with my
dad. He is almost 84 years old and he still has
dogs and hunts ducks. We enjoy being together.
(X-Hun, CA)
[When I went hunting as a child I could]
socialize with adults When they [were] relaxed.
They [were] in a more child-like state
themselves. (X-Hun, PA)
Some of the best times of my life were hunting
with my father. (X-Hun, PA)
[Hunting] has been in the family for many
years. It's something dad and I can do
together. (X-Hun, PA)
[Hunting] is handed down. It has to do with how
you are raised. A lot of people are scared of
guns. My father didn't hunt, but he taught me
about guns. (Hun, PA)
A lot of people go out because other people in
their family went out hunting before them.
[Hunting] is tradition. (N-Hun, NH)
When I was 13 my father took me hunting. He and
I don't have the greatest relationship in the
world [but] when we [were] hunting we [had]
more of a bonding. (N-Hun, NH)
My father went once in his life. He got a deer
and never went again, but I had some surrogate
fathers and we went to their cabin. They let me
hunt squirrels. (X-Hun, NH)
[Hunting is a] social thing or a rite of
passage, traditions [are] handed down. When you

were old enough they handed you a rifle and
said 'go prove yourself.' (X-Hun, NH)
[Hunting] is an annual thing. My brothers and I
take our sons. Last year I took my son for the
first time. We have 10 or 15 people in camp.
It's a great experience. My son could write a
book about it, that's the great part. (Hun, AZ)
[Hunting] has to do with being out with the
men. It's a throw back in our nature when we
had to hunt for food although we don't need it
for food now-a-days, we do it because it takes
us back to where we were, that challenge, that
camaraderie, the challenge of living off the
land. We only get to do that for a few days out
of the year now. (Hun, AZ)
[Hunting was] sitting around in the woods and
talking. [There is] the success of following
something until you coiild kill it, [but] it was
the social aspect. (X-Hun, AZ)
[Hunting is] fellowship, camaraderie. I've been
hunting on the same mountain with the same
people for years. (Hun, CO)
It was interesting that several ex-hunters seemed to
have quit hunting because of issues around the family.
Most often this is reported as due to time constraints,
but the focus groups revealed deeper issues as well. This
seems to suggest that the family values within the
context of hunting were more important than the values of
hunting per se or that some individuals held neutralistic
attitudes about hunting. It is also interesting that some
ex-hunters would return to hunting if it were in the
context of family activities:
I probably wouldn't hunt again. I hunted with
my fatherit was specialhe's gone so I
wouldn't hunt again. (X-Hun, CA)

I just don't have the time [to hunt]. My
brother belongs to a club, he invites me, but I
[won't] have the time until I retire. (X-Hun,
I started [hunting] when I was 16 because my
uncles and cousins were hunters. I never saw
anything and I lost interest. My father won't
eat venison, so it's a good trade; he hunts and
I eat it. But, I never could get interested in
it. I tried a couple of ways and didn't get
anything. I don't have the patience. (X-Hun,
If you have to [hunt], whether society approves
it or not, there is a need to survive and a
need to challenge; hunting meets both of those
needs. I can't see holding somebody back from
it. If they do it just for the thrill of
killing, it's wrong. Myself I don't have the
need. I can challenge myself in other ways, I'm
not a woodsy type guy. (N-Hun, NH)
I started [hunting] with a neighbor. We shared
a paper route. I remember it fondly because it
was the first thing I ever bought with my own
money, a shotgun. I quit when [my friend] went
off to college and I didn't have [anyone to
hunt with]. My father wasn't interested in
[hunting]. Then I hit college [and] gave it up.
(X-Hun, NH)
How far [down] is [hunting] on my list of
priorities? Even if I had the time I might not
go. Maybe if my father asked me, but not
otherwise. (X-Hun, NH)
What got me out of hunting [was] my family was
into the challenge and I was into the
recreational aspects. They wanted to take up
pheasant hunting for the challenge and getting
something, that's why I stopped. (X-Hun, AZ)
I was never successful. I hunted because the
guys I ran with hunted and I just went with
them. When they moved or got divorced I didn't
have anyone to go with, so I stopped. (X-Hun,
I knew what everybody I was hunting with would
do. I moved and I haven't wanted to learn that
over again. (X-Hun, PA)

The guys I ran with all moved away. Twenty
years ago when I was working hard, hunting was
an all male activity and a way to get away, but
I don't have the time anymore. I just got out
of the habit. I was trying to keep a business
going and I had two kids I was doing things
with. (X-Hun, AZ)
I never grew up around [hunting] If I had to I
might hunt, but it doesn't appeal to me. (Mx,
I hunted to please my grandfather. He got too old so
I took up sports to please him. I only hunted
because of my grandfather. (Mx, CO)
I've hunted with my brothers all my life.
They're all gone, except the littlest one
things change. (X-Hun, PA)
Several focus groups uncovered very deep emotions
about hunting. In one group, a woman related that her
husband had suffered a severe cerebral stroke, to the
extent that he was unable to remember his children, but
he asked his wife to go get a hunting license for him.
When she told him that he couldn't hunt anymore, he
asked, "If I can't hunt, who am I?" In other groups, very
strong values regarding hunting where shown, especially
when hunters were asked what would induce them to stop:
[Hunting] is hereditary! (Hun, PA)
You have to put a lot into [hunting] to get
anything out of it. A lot of people don't want
to put that time into something. (Hun, PA)
Maybe [hunting] is genetic, it's part of
growing up. I grew up around guns and the
historical aspect grabbed me, the evolution of
modern firearms. (Mx, CO)

I get an unbelievable rush when I kill
something, so I can't imagine stopping. (Hun,
Everybody has stopped some form of hunting at
some time in their life, a method of hunting
that doesn't hold a kick today. I quit shooting
a rifle about 10 years ago. I went to a bow and
arrow because I find that more challenging. You
may change species or methods, but the thrill
of hunting remains the same, you just attack it
through a different form. (Hun, AZ)
Disvalues in Hunting
In order to fully develop the attitudes toward
hunting as issues of value, I explored attitudes toward
anti-hunting sentiments as well. In a way this exposes
issues of disvalue in regards hunting. Rolston (1992)
discussed the use of disvalue as a concept or method of
investigating the so-called naturalistic fallacy from a
negative view. In other words, the description of what is
to prescribe what ought not to be. I used the focus
groups to explore negativistic attitudes about hunting as
perceived by those with positive attitudes about hunting
as well as those with openly negative attitudes toward
hunting. Obviously the hunters did not share the
negativistic attitudes, but some were shown to have occur
in all of the groups:
[There is] a philosophical difference. Animal
lovers are very much against [hunting]. (N-Hun,
It's a different generation. People have more
respect. (X-Hun, CA)

[Some think hunting] is inhumanemy wife is
one of those. (X-Hun, NH)
Most people have the wrong idea about hunting,
they think it's cruel. (X-Hun, PA)
There are those who want to stop [hunting]. The
herds have been increasing [and] there are only
so many permits [so] that shouldn't be a
problem. But all these people who make the most
noise get the service. So that is a threat.
(Hun, AZ)
They are opposed to killing. They do not think
that killing should come as easy to us as it
does. They want to elevate the prey to the same
level as us. (X-Hun, AZ)
The term "kills" is pretty offensive, it's
something that is premeditated. In harvesting
an animal, it's different. The whole concept of
harvesting sets better than going out and
"killing" something. I went to Vietnam and I
don't think killing something is all that
great. (Hun, AZ)
It always bothered me to go kill prairie dogs
or blow a jackrabbit apart. I did it to be in
with a group, but it hurt me. (X-Hun, AZ)
I never had any use for shooting things,
shooting guns, especially wild animals. You can
study them, that way they are there for others
to enjoy. (Mx, CO)
We've evolved so much beyond hunting for food,
so it's not a right, it's a privilege or a
pleasure. You don't have any rights as a
hunter. (Mx, CO)
However, hunters tended to be very critical of anti-
hunting attitudes and generally attributed trivial values
to individuals holding anti-hunting attitudes. Hunters
tended to feel that anti-hunters concentrated on
individual animal issues or gun control and ignored
larger ecological concerns:

[Anti-hunters] want to take our guns away. You
need to join the NRA. (Hun, PA)
The anti-hunting [movement] is p.c. bull-shit.
They think it's politically correct. They want
somebody else to kill the meat for them in a
sterile atmosphere. I think a lot of people are
opposed to hunting because they think that is
what they are supposed to [believe]. They want
to be socially accepted. (X-Hun, NH)
[Animal rights] concerns are much narrower than
hunters. They don't think about starving deer
being over populated. They don't realize that
man has created this problem and man has to
step in [to solve] the problem. They see a
narrow issue of [hunting] being cruel to kill
an animal. (Hun, CO)
[Anti-hunters] are uneducated, hypocritical.
(Hun, CO)
And, the anti-hunting focus group attributed just as
trivial nbtions to hunters. They recognized all of the
attitudes and values that hunters expressed, but placed a
disvalue on them. Anti-hunters seemed to attribute
extreme importance on the killing of animals and ignoring
larger environmental issues;
Hunting as a sport has caused endangered
species. [Hunters] don't see what they are
hunting for, so they just start shooting at
anything. (A-Hun, CO)
Some kids who lived down the street from me
killed an [opossum] and skinned it and hung it
up in a tree. When I saw that it terrified me.
Since then I've been strongly against
[hunting]. My mom wanted a fur coat and I was
against it. (A-Hun, CO)
To hunt wild animals for the food, that's
understandable to some point. But to hunt for
sport, I can't deal with that. (A-Hun, CO)

I know [hunting] is a great tradition with a
lot of families, but I don't have to agree with
it. (A-Hun, CO)
The way the ecosystem works is for the weak to
die. In hunting that's not the way, it's the
biggest who get shot, it works in reverse. (A-
Hun, CO)
[Hunting] shouldn't be a question of rights. I
think it is a moral question or whether this
type of killing is necessary. I don't think it
is. I think it is morally wrong. (A-Hun, CO)
I don't think hunting is ever ethical. (A-Hun,
Morally hunting is unethical. How did hunting
get started? It should never have been allowed.
(A-Hun, CO)
The major disvalue and negative attitude shown in
the focus most of the groups toward hunting was the issue
of safety. This was' sometimes expressed in actual safety
issues or attitudes toward hunters behaving unsafely. It
also seemed that most of the groups, including the
hunters, considered hunting to be inherently unsafe. At
least half the groups mentioned an incident in Maine
which had been widely covered by the news media. The
situation involved a woman hanging laundry in her
backyard being shot by a hunter who mistook her for a
deer. The hunter was absolved of any legal responsibility
in the case. The interesting aspect of this is that the
incident was usually given as a typical example of a
hunting accident. However, the reason it was covered by
the news media was because it was so exceptional. The

facts about the safety of hunting are that it is much
safer than other comparable outdoor recreational
activities such as boating or skiing.
It seems that the use of firearms or the intent to
kill something is seen as making hunting inherently
unsafe as compared to activities which do not involve
overtly violent behavior. Often the groups would discuss
the safety of hunting within the context of increase
violence in society. In one case a hunter suggested that
hunting trained people how to defend themselves and that
hunters protected society from dangerous animals!
Interestingly enough, the anti-hunting group did not
express any serious concern about the safety of hunting
although they seemed to consider hunters as generally
I don't need to be protected from [hunters].
You need to protect the animals from us. (A-
Hun, CO)
At any rate, all of the other focus groups displayed the
perception of hunting as unsafe. This is a negativistic
attitude toward hunting and hunters:
I have a negative image of most hunters who
want to be driven to an area and then blast
away at the animal, very negative. (N-Hun, CA)
There is the issue of safety. People should
have to go to a hunter safety course. Some
people [do], but put blinders on [when they
hunt]. (X-Hun, CA)
People are really afraid of guns with crime and
things. They make their kids scared of guns.
(X-Hun, CA)

My dad loved to hunt deer. My brother loves to
hunt deer. My uncle was killed by a deer
hunter. (N-Hun, CA)
[I would stop hunting if I had] an accident, if
I shot one of my friends, any kind of an
accident. (Hun, PA)
You don't go out of the house during the
hunting season or you'll be shot. We carried a
gun to return fire. You could wear orange with
a neon sign and you'll still get shot. (N-Hun,
What happens if you run into the one psycho in
the woods? (N-Hun, NH)
I think of hunting and drinking. There is a
bunch of that. (X-Hun, CA)
I got worried about [being shot]. I have 10
reasons why I don't hunt and safety is one of
them. (X-Hun, PA)
Get all the drunks and crazies out of the
woods. I have been shot at and it's a
humiliating experience. I got away from the
group [of friends] who hunted [and] I went in
the service. But there are a lot of crazies out
thereout of state hunters--it's scary. (X-
Hun, NH)
I've stopped dove hunting because of crowding.
I don't like shot raining down on my head.
(Hun, AZ)
I bow hunt. I won't go into the mountains
during the rifle season. There are a lot of
careless people out there. Muzzle loaders and
bow hunters are more careful. (Hun, CO)
I never hunted anyway. I just went about 10
times right after I [got] out of the service. I
just stopped [because] I didn't want to get
shot. I wouldn't go again. [Hunting] is o.k., I
just don't want to go. I go in the woods in the
summer when there are no hunters. (X-Hun, NH)
The idea that hunting is a way of demonstrating
mastery over animals is widely held to be a disvalue

(Kellert, 1978 and elsewhere). Often times the focus
groups other than hunters expressed the idea in a way
which showed disapproval:
A lot of people get something out of just
shooting something-the power thing. (X-Hun, CO)
I lost the thrill of going out. I still go out
with a camera, but I'd rather get them in the
sight and not pull the trigger. [Killing] was
almost too much to go throughthen I thought
'why carry a gun around?' I just lost the
thrill of killing an animal. (X-Hun, PA)
[Hunting is] not to lose that survival thing.
I'd hate to think it was a violence thing. (N-
Hun, NH)
I [still] go out and Shoot, but I lost interest
in killing animals or proving something to
other people or [myself] or to have a trophy on
the wall. Some people go for the meat, but that
is a minority. (X-Hun, NH)
I enjoy going and setting up camp, but I
haven't hunted for the past five years. My
family won't eat it and I can't see killing
something if you don't eat it. I've gotten out
of the killing aspect. (X-Hun, AZ)
Where's the thrill? I can see shooting targets,
but if you shoot an animal and it dies or runs
away wounded, what's the thrill? What's going
on in [hunters] minds? (A-Hun, CO)
It depends on the situation. You are proving
f your own cleverness. [Hunting] is an outlet for
your own viscousness. (N-Hun, CA)
For a lot of men, if they stopped [hunting] it
would detract from their macho interest. But if
you talk to them, you don't know if they enjoy
[hunting] or not. It's just something they have
always done. (A-Hun, CO)
I'm sorry guys, but it's macho. Then you have
to eat itno wayl (Mx, CO)

Attitudes and Knowledge of State Wildlife Agencies
While all of the groups seemed to have high values
and rich attitudes about wildlife, none of them,
including the hunters, had a high level of information
about the policy process. Some groups had minimal
awareness about the functions of the state agency, but in
no case was the commission process mentioned nor was
there any indication that the groups had any idea of how
to interject their ideas into the process. When the
question was put directly to them, none of the groups had
any idea of how to influence the policy process.
There was some variation around the country on the
level of information and awareness. The active hunters
and ex-hunters in Arizona were most aware of the policy
process and had the highest level of information about
the state agency. However, recently there had been a
highly publicized court case on elk hunting (see Chapter
5) and there had been a recent referendum which had
giving lottery funds to the state wildlife agency. At the
time of the focus group there was a current hotly debated
public referendum about hunting and trapping on public
lands which had attracted much attention.
The anti-hunting group in Colorado had the least
amount of actual information:
Is there a specific agency that does that,
manage wildlife? (A-Hun, CO)

Generally the groups displayed trust, if not genuine
regard for the state agency. Most were aware of the
technical function and the law enforcement function of
the state agency, but were not fully aware of the full
range of functions:
It's pretty well controlled now, we can't
complain. There's more game than ever. (Hun,
[The state agency] finds out if a population is
growing. They maintain a census. (X-Hun, NH)
[The state agency does] law enforcement.
Conservation officers are out in the woods, but
it's not common knowledge. (X-Hun, NH)
[The state agency does] a lot with fishing,
[but] not so much with hunting. They come and
check your license and your fish and it bothers
me. (N-Hun, NH)
They keep people aware. As a representative of
wildlife, they are it. When populations are up
or down, if they do nothing else, they keep the
general populace aware of wildlife. (N-Hun, NH)
They reduce the amount of deer tags so they
don't menace the deer populations. (Hun, PA)
My fantasy is that they control the hunting and
fishing, professional and amateur hunting. (N-
Hun, CA)
We take their word for the type of research
they do. They have their biologists doing God
knows what, but we have a certain amount of
trust in their integrity. So, regardless of the
issue, I think for the most part we trust them.
We have confidence in their ability to do a
good job. (Hun, CO)
They get involved in areas where you wouldn't
expect them [such as land use planning]. (N-
Hun, CAj