Minnesota Hunter Safety Course


Wildlife Management Practices

A habitat will naturally change over time. Consider a farmer's field surrounded by forest land. If the field is not plowed on a regular basis, natural plant life will gradually inch its way back in - first grasses, then shrubs, and eventually turning the field back into the natural habitat that surrounds it. This gradual change in the environment is known as 'succession'. It is a naturally-occurring process that happens in every habitat, as soon as a disturbance to the natural balance has occurred. As long as a habitat is not permanently changed (as is the case with urban development such as building a highway or parking lot), the environment will always restore balance over time.

Conservation is simply defined as "using natural resources wisely". Through conservation efforts and wildlife management practices, we ensure that wildlife populations are kept at optimum levels. Preservation, by contrast, is "avoiding the use of the resource". For example, any species that is on the endangered list, is protected from hunting in order to preserve the species.

Wildlife Management Practices are efforts by private landowners, conservation organizations and hunters to enhance wildlife and the land that supports it. This works to ensure that wildlife will be maintained at healthy populations and that the natural balance that is achieved through succession is not disturbed by human interaction. Through these practices, we are able to study and understand wildlife, as well as how humans interact and utilize wildlife to ensure this balance to natural habitat is maintained. These are some Wildlife Management Practices:

Fires and Selective Burning

Provides new growth in forests and open lands.

Timber Sales

Selective cutting of trees opens the canopy of the forest, allowing the understory to grow. The understory becomes food and shelter for a variety of wildlife. Clearcutting opens large tracts of land and encourages browse to grow. These areas are also planted with small trees, which will provide shelter for wildlife.