Since 1946, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has been protecting our wild places and things and connecting people with the great outdoors.
Anglers, here’s some food for thought: In 2010, the Federation spearheaded an initiative to amendment the Tennessee Constitution to include language guaranteeing our citizens the RIGHT to hunt and fish. The amendment passed in a Nov. 2 general election by a record-setting 90 percent. Before this amendment, hunting and fishing was legally considered a privilege and not a right, which is a scary concept.
Every day, TWF is looking for ways to provide better fishing opportunities and protect existing ones in Tennessee. Just this past spring, we helped drive an effort to provide permanent funding for East Tennessee fish hatcheries that produce more than a million trout for Tennessee and Georgia anglers at an economic impact of some $45 million.
Always remember that Tennessee’s wildlife is YOUR wildlife. This is not just a catch phrase. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was established in American case law of the 1860s when the creation of the “Seven Sisters of Conservation” (see the sidebar) by sportsmen and women began in earnest.
The “Seven Sisters of Conservation”
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is guided by seven principles, or “Sisters of Conservation.” Sportsmen and women have helped to either establish, popularize, mobilize support for, and/or defend each of these guiding principles over the past 125 years. The results are unprecedented, and the Model is unlike any found elsewhere in the world.
Sister #1 – Wildlife is Held in the Public Trust
In North American, natural resources and wildlife on public lands are managed by government agencies to ensure that current and future generations always have wildlife and wild places to enjoy.
Sister #2 – Prohibition on Commerce of Dead Wildlife
Commercial hunting and the sale of wildlife is prohibited to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations.
Sister #3 – Democratic Rule of Law
Hunting and fishing laws are created through the public process where everyone has the opportunity and responsibility to develop systems of wildlife conservation and use.
Sister #4 – Hunting Opportunity for All
Every citizen has an opportunity, under the law, to hunt and fish in the United States and Canada.
Sister #5 – Non-Frivolous Use
In North America, individuals may legally kill certain wild animals under strict guidelines for food and fur, self-defense and property protection. Laws restrict against the casual killing of wildlife merely for antlers, horns or feathers.
Sister #6 – International Resources
Wildlife and fish migrate freely across boundaries between states, provinces and countries. Working together, the United States and Canada jointly coordinate wildlife and habitat management strategies. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 demonstrates this cooperation between countries to protect wildlife. The Act made it illegal to capture or kill migratory birds, except as allowed by specific hunting regulations.
Sister #7 – Scientific Management
Sound science is essential to managing and sustaining North America’s wildlife and habitats. For example, researchers put radio collars on elk to track the animals’ movements to determine where elk give birth and how they react to motor vehicles on forest roads.