Rise of populism affects wildlife management in US

November 3, 2017


Colorado State University


A cultural backlash stemming from the rise of populism may limit opportunities for state fish and wildlife agencies to adapt to changing social values in the United States.


Researchers at Colorado State University and The Ohio State University have found that a cultural backlash stemming from the rise of populism may limit opportunities for state fish and wildlife agencies to adapt to changing social values in the United States. The team reached this conclusion by analyzing more than 12,000 surveys from 19 states and studying ballot initiatives related to hunting.

Based on the new study, researchers found that in states with the largest change in social values, individuals who held traditional values had lower levels of trust in the state wildlife agency. In contrast to traditional values, in which people believe wildlife exists for their benefit, the researchers describe an emerging set of values, in which wildlife and humans are seen as part of a connected social community, as mutualism.

In the case of human-wildlife conflict, traditionalists would be more likely to support lethal wildlife control methods while mutualists would be more supportive of restrictions on humans.

“With a growing proportion of mutualists in a state, traditionalists begin to lose trust in the state’s fish and wildlife agency,” said Michael Manfredo, lead author on the paper and head of CSU’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. “Based on our research, wildlife agencies, which focus on statewide mandates, increasingly engage with people who are mutualists, looking for common ground, and the traditionalists would feel this challenges their influence in policymaking.”

The team found a growth in ballot initiatives to protect hunting rights from 2000 to 2016, in contrast with the number of ballot initiatives from the previous decade that sought to restrict certain hunting and trapping practices. Researchers said this indicates a culutural backlash that they predict will intensify conflicts over wildlife management and may constrain institutional change. Wildlife management agencies may need to explore new models of governance that encompass diverse values, the study authors said. Continue reading

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Zinke signs Order to Support Sportsmen & Enhance Wildlife Conservation


Order seeks to expand access on public and private lands and to promote hunting and fishing among youth, veterans, and minority communities


Date: September 15, 2017 Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, which will support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. Secretarial Order 3356 is an extension of Secretarial Order 3347, issued on Zinke’s first day, March 2, 2017. That order identified a slate of actions for the restoration of the American sportsmen conservation ethic, which was established by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The new order comes days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a survey that found there are 2.2 million fewer hunters in America now than in 2011. The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting, and fishing, and puts a new and a greater emphasis on recruiting and retaining new sportsmen conservationists, with a focus on engaging youths, veterans, minorities, and other communities that traditionally have low participation in outdoor recreation activities.

“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience. Continue reading

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Tony Tooke as New Forest Service Chief



Washington, D.C., August 21, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced Tony Tooke will serve as the new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Tooke has worked for the Forest Service since age 18 and currently is the Regional Forester for the Southern Region. Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue this statement:

“The Forest Service will be in good hands with the U.S. Forest Service’s own Tony Tooke whose knowledge of forestry is unmatched. Tony has been preparing for this role for his whole professional life, and at a time when we face active and growing fires, his transition into leadership will be seamless.  He will oversee efforts to get our forests working again, to make them more productive, and to create more jobs. His focus will be on ensuring we are good neighbors and are managing our forests effectively, efficiently, and responsibly, as well as working with states and local governments to ensure the utmost collaboration. No doubt, the stewardship of our forests is an awesome and sacred responsibility, and no one knows that better than Tony who has dedicated his career to this noble cause,” said Secretary Perdue. Continue reading

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Bill O’Neill deputy director Michigan DNR

Contact: Ed Golder, 517-284-5815

July 24, 2017

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh today announced that Bill O’Neill has been named natural resources deputy for the agency, effective Sunday, Aug. 13. Current natural resources deputy, Bill Moritz, is leaving his position with the DNR to work for the Wildlife Management Institute.

Since January 2012, he has served as chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, except for a brief stint in early 2016 when – on an interim basis – he took on the role of resources deputy while Moritz filled in as DNR director during Creagh’s assignment at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Continue reading

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Welcome Aboard Bill Moritz

The Wildlife Management Institute recently announced the hiring of William “Bill” Moritz as the new Midwest Field Representative, replacing Pat Ruble who retired earlier this year. The Midwest Field Representative serves as WMI’s liaison with the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In addition, Bill will be working with federal, state, and non-governmental organizations to advance conservation efforts in the Midwest as well as serving on WMI teams that review and evaluate national, regional, and state conservation programs.

Bill Moritz


WMI’s strategic focus areas include: science and management projects, program review and policy development, information and education, project coordination, and service to the profession and partners. Bill’s extensive education and experience will serve us well in that role.

Bill Moritz has a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University, a M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University, and a Ph.D. in Zoology and a Master of Public Affairs from Southern Illinois University. Bill currently serves as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Natural Resources Deputy. Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Safari Club International and Safari Club International Foundation. Prior to those positions, Bill worked for Michigan DNR in various positions including Chief of the Wildlife Division.

Bill will assume his position at WMI on August 5, 2017. Bill will be performing selected duties for the Michigan DNR and will continue his coordination of the Monarch Conservation Plan’s development and implementation. WMI welcomes Bill aboard and looks forward to expanded opportunities to enhance conservation in the Midwest.



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