Saskatchewan Hunter Safety Course

Wildlife Conservation Principles

Conservation means "to make wise use of a resource". Properly managed and protected wildlife stocks can last forever. Wildlife management must take into account habitat, unregulated hunting, poaching, wildlife disease, land use practices and other conservation issues. The methods may vary, but if wildlife is to survive in any numbers it must be provided with suitable habitat and managed so that breeding stocks do not disappear.

Wildlife Conservation

The three basic principles of wildlife conservation are:

1. Protect the Breeding Stock

2. Harvest the "Surplus" Wisely

3. Balance Animals and Habitat

1. Protect the Breeding Stock

In order for wildlife to be considered a renewable resource, enough animals must be able to survive the winter and produce young. It is equally important that there are enough young animals growing up to replace the mature animals as they die off.

“Breeding stock” is a term used to describe the appropriate mixture of young and adult animals needed to maintain a population. It is the task of the wildlife managers to determine how many animals are surplus in a game population and to protect the remaining animals.

Regulation methods such as hunting seasons, bag limits and license quotas are used by game managers to protect breeding stock.

2. Harvest the surplus wisely

The “surplus” animals refer to those animals that exceed the carrying capacity. Wildlife managers want to carefully remove the surplus to allow the harvest animals to grow so hunters can get the most meat possible from the harvest.

If sufficient breeding stock has been protected and weather conditions are good, more young will be produced than are needed to replenish the breeding stock. These surplus animals are hunted during the fall seasons, when the young have reached a harvestable size.

3. Balance Animals and Habitat

Lands and vegetation are an important part of sustaining a habitat but can be harmed when the number of animals using an area is too much for the land to support. The goal for wildlife managers is to maintain a healthy balance of the amount of wildlife with the amount of food, water, shelter and space available.

Certain areas of land in Saskatchewan have been designated as critical wildlife habitat. These areas are vital for the survival of wildlife and must be kept intact to ensure they will continue to support wildlife in the future.