The wildlife conservation system (management of wildlife populations) in the United States and the mechanisms for its support have no analogues in the world.
The United States of America is a state with an area of 9.5 million square kilometers, with 325 million inhabitants.
The country has a federal form of organization and is administratively divided into 50 states and one federal district of Columbia.
What is so unique in this country in the field of hunting management?
Here, each state has its own body responsible for both the state of wildlife and hunters living in the country.
Let’s take hunting in Ohio as an example.
The most significant law that led to fantastic results in the field of hunting fauna is the Pittman and Robertson Act, published in 1937 and called the Federal Aid for the Conservation of Wildlife.
Based on this law, a federal assistance program for local environmental authorities was created. The financial assistance was based on an excise tax (11%) on all types of hunting weapons and equipment.
The funds received from this tax were distributed among states depending on the number of hunting licenses sold there.
The administration of each state added another 50% to the amount issued by the federal government. Ohio authorities, like other state agencies, have the right to dispose of the funds received at their discretion.
They are mainly spent on improving the habitat of wild animals, conducting registration and statistical studies of animal populations, acquiring new hunting grounds, training and instructing hunters, building new ones and servicing old public shooting ranges.
As in most states, Ohio has public land on which hunters can freely hunt, and private properties where the hunter has the right to hunt only with the written permission of the landowner. If the hunter does not have a permission, he will be punished – imprisonment for 60 days and a fine of $500.
The punishment is tougher for a second violation: 90 days in prison and a $750 fine. In addition to public and private sites, Ohio has hunting ranches where animals are brought for hunting and where they are bred in captivity.
All the ranches – ranging from several hectares to hundreds of square kilometers – are surrounded by a high fence, which excludes the exit of the animals contained there.
A wide circle of people has the right to check a hunting license: representatives of the State Department of Hunting and Fish, the sheriff, deputy sheriff of districts, law enforcement officers, and on private lands – landowners or authorized landowner agents.
80 years later, thanks to the Federal Assistance Program and billions of dollars collected in taxes from the hunting industry, populations of all North American animals have not only been restored but also significantly increased.
It is well known that in the late XVIII – early XIX centuries. many species in North America were on the verge of extinction. Every American hunter these days clearly understands that by his actions he protects, enhances and preserves not only wild fauna but also wildlife in general.
Hunters and fishers in Ohio fall into two main categories. These are local hunters, permanently residing in the state, and visitors (non-residents), i.e. citizens of other states. Both locals and visitors must strictly observe the rules common to all.
Long before the opening of the hunting season, a document with the terms of the hunt is published on the website of the Fish and Game Department, which spells out all the actions of the hunter to the smallest detail, which undoubtedly makes life easier for the person who decided to spend the hunting season in this state.
It is especially worth noting that in the United States even a citizen who has not reached the age of majority may be a hunter. Like people who have reached 66 years of age, they have enormous benefits: their cash payments are significantly lower, or they are completely exempted from them.
In most states, citizens have the right to hunt when they are 12 years old. In Ohio, young and adult people who want to go hunting are most often taught by the National Rifle Association (NKA), the North American Hunting Club, and Safari International Club. They give lectures on the safety of handling weapons, on the rules of shooting from a hunting rifle and a gun.
Hunting in Ohio is permitted only during daylight hours: from 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. The official time of the beginning and end of the hunt is published with a precision of one minute in a special brochure and in the local press.
The use of any tactical flashlights and searchlights when tracking animals is strictly prohibited. Although there are exceptions, for example, during night hunting for raccoon and possums, when the use of ordinary hand-held flashlights is allowed (but not spotlights).
During deer hunting, its participants must wear bright orange vests and hats for safety reasons.
Being a hunter in the USA is not burdensome. For example, the cost of an annual Ohio Permanent License is $19. A youth annual license for both residents and non-residents costs $10. For adult non-residents who want to hunt in the state, an annual license will cost $125.
A local resident is a person who has lived in Ohio for at least six years, the rest are non-resident and must acquire more expensive licenses, while for Ohio hunters born before December 31, 1931, the license is free.
The state also has additional fees: $15 for environmental ecology (age hunters are exempted from them) and a federal hunting fee (duck fee) $25, which is paid by hunters over 16 years old.
Ohio practices spring hunting for wild turkey, a symbol of North America. The permit price for adult local hunters is $24. Youth permit for residents and non-residents is $12. Permission for low-income residents is $12. Permission for older ages is free.
The rules of hunting in Ohio to the smallest detail specify the time and cost of hunting, the behavior of the hunter and his use of technical means, so citizens can legally procure animals for their own consumption, subject to strict observance of the rules of hunting and prey.
In the United States, an average of more than 20 million hunting licenses are sold annually. They are drawn up and paid on the Internet, can be bought at the post office or in any store selling hunting and fishing goods. In Ohio (and throughout the United States), the sale of wild animals is completely prohibited.
Ohio is considered a densely populated state, and rifle hunting is limited in a number of counties. Hunting with bows, crossbows and shotguns is allowed and even encouraged.
Animal breeding is widely practiced in Ohio. For example, farmers may receive special permits if there are proven cases of deer damage to crops.
In this case, the farmer has the right to shoot females and hornless young animals on their lands (adult male deer are not included in this list). Thus, due to hunting, the optimal number of ungulate animals is maintained in accordance with the feeding capabilities of the area.
The State Fish and Game Department is closely monitoring the epizootic situation not only during the hunting season but also year-round. During the hunting season for ungulates, mobile veterinary stations of the Department operate, where hunters can check their prey for diseases, and this procedure is free.
State hunters control the numbers of dangerous predators such as the bear, as well as those who harm other animals (such as coyotes).
Group hunts are completely unpopular in Ohio. It is believed that the hunter must single-handedly get the beast or bird on a package tour. The only exceptions are boars that have expanded throughout the United States.
In the US, poaching is punished very harshly, so its cases are extremely rare. It is forbidden to shoot from the road and trails, from motor-launch vehicles and a motorboat, from a car, plane or helicopter (the latter is forbidden even as a means of transportation). Radio communications are not used.
Weapons caliber is regulated for each type of game. For a hunter, a matter of honor is the addition of wounded animals. If the wounded animal is gone, then the person is obliged to inform the Fish and Game Administration, where the license was acquired.
The obtained trophy must be immediately registered and an opportunity for hunting specialists to take measurements, which in turn will confirm the legality of the extraction.
The rules of hunting developed in the USA are inextricably linked with the law on the conservation of wildlife. The achievements in this area undoubtedly deserve careful consideration.