On August 16, 2007, driven by the concerns of the sportsmen and conservation communities, President George W. Bush signed an Executive Order that called for federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat. The Order also calls for a Wildlife Policy conference to lay the foundation for a ten-year Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Resource Conservation Plan. This conference is scheduled for October 2 -3, 2008 in Reno, Nevada.
The White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy will focus on five core areas:
1. Discussions on the North American Conservation Model
2. State/Federal/Tribal Wildlife Management
3. Habitat Conservation and Management
4. Funding for Wildlife Conservation
5. Perpetuating Hunter Traditions
Working groups made up of some of the leading experts on wildlife management and hunting are crafting recommendations that will lead the way for the final plan. The recommendations put forward by the wildlife community will be used by the current Administration, Governors and members of Congress in the final plan to ensure that it is non-partisan and will be successful no matter who is in the White House or controls Congress.
The White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy is being spearheaded by the Sporting Conservation Council. This Council of twelve individuals was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to advise the Administration. Eleven of the twelve Council members are Regular or Professional Members of the Boone and Crockett Club. The American Wildlife Conservation Partners are also involved in the White House Conference. In 2000, the Boone and Crockett Club played a pivotal role in forming this influential coalition of some forty of the nation’s largest conservation organizations and agencies.
The North American Wildlife Conservation Model represents perhaps the greatest environmental success story in Earth’s history. Although time tested, this Model is not impervious to threat. As population’s increase and open spaces decrease, as hunter numbers and hunter access continues to decline, and new threats like climate change get added to the mix it is more important than ever that this Model survive.
The North American Model works because those who own and use the resources take responsibility for them. History shows that in the beginning it was sportsmen taking this responsibility upon themselves. They are the real heroes of conservation. Today, without their passion, observation based input, stewardship, and funding, this Model, would simply collapse. For this Model to continue to safeguard the real health and wealth of the Nation – our natural resources – sportsmen must continue to take to the fields and streams.