In their handbook, Hunting for Habitat, Donald R. Leal and J. Bishop Grewell explore ranching for wildlife programs. Around the West, state agencies and landowners are improving both game and nongame habitat through these state-landowner partnerships. Not to be confused with game ranching, these programs help landowners manage free-roaming wild animal populations.
Ranching for wildlife provides landowners with such advantages as hunting tags to sell directly to hunters and extended hunting seasons. In return, landowners make habitat improvements, often designing site-specific management plans. Ranching for wildlife leads to improved success rates and trophy animals for hunters, better habitat management for state game agencies, and wildlife viewed as assets rather than pests by landowners.
Hunting for Habitat discusses the controversies as well as the benefits of ranching for wildlife and answers difficult questions such as:
- Is fee hunting unfair?
- Does ranching for wildlife encourage high-priced trophy hunts?
- Do these state programs restrict hunter access to land?
In addition, Hunting for Habitat offers advice on implementing ranching for wildlife in other states as well as improving existing programs.
The authors are associates of PERC, a nationally recognized institute in Bozeman, Montana, that seeks market solutions to environmental problems. PERC recognizes that when it comes to wildlife, often the most applicable phrase for saving animals is “if it pays, it stays.”