Managing American Wildlife: A History of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

By Dian Olson Belanger | Go to book overview

T ⋆ W ⋆ O
Building Game Management, Building an Association

Ducks can't lay eggs on a picket fence.

JAY N. "DING" DARLING

SETH GORDON, pillar of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for over sixty years, attended his first Association convention in 1921, an important year for witnessing both the continuity of conservation interests and the development of new approaches to game administration. As he later recalled, the major issues and recommendations of that session were the reduction of bag limits and improvement of law enforcement; the endorsement of the Public Shooting Grounds-Game Refuge Bill then before Congress; opposition to marsh drainage; and the removal of game and fish administration from politics. These priorities reflected, in fact, major issues of the conservation community for the next decade and more.1

Early conservation efforts had largely consisted of various restrictions on the taking of game. Moreover, a sizable bloc of learned as well as popular opinion had regarded wildlife as a finite resource that would eventually disappear. As McGee had put it, conservation would allow the greatest good for the greatest number for the longest time. Controlling hunting practices would postpone the final day--only that. But by the 1920s conservation leaders, while agreeing that hunting restraints by themselves could not preserve America's wildlife resources, would not accept the fatalistic view that game must inevitably be lost. Aldo Leopold, for example, perhaps borrowing from his first career as a forester, began applying the sustained yield concept of forest renewal to wildlife.

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