Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Wildlife Biology

Department or School/College

W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, Division of Biological Sciences, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit

Committee Chair

Joshua Millspaugh

Commitee Members

Elizabeth Metcalf, Michael Mitchell, Sara Rinfret


Wildlife, Policy, Natural Resources, Management, Revenue, Wildlife Take


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Biodiversity | Environmental Policy | Public Policy


Wildlife conservation in the United States was built by the dollars of consumptive users. Monies from the sale of hunting licenses, as well as excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery tackle through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (PR), currently fuel a complex system of wildlife conservation via multiple levels of government. However, the number of hunters in this country is rapidly declining, the sale of firearms and ammunition is increasingly unrelated to hunting, and contemporary consumers tend to express different values than traditional hunters. These changes pose significant challenges of relevancy and funding to state and federal fish and wildlife agencies charged with wildlife management and conservation. This thesis seeks to contribute to three topics that are relevant to the future of the field of wildlife conservation by clarifying commonly used – but rarely defined – language, analyzing state-specific responses to declines in funding for conservation, and analyzing concerns regarding the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

The first chapter of this thesis aims to clarify terms commonly used in scholarship related to the take of wildlife to facilitate clear communication. When definitions vary among practitioners and academics, misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication arise. Reconciling distinctions between legal and social licensure facilitates more accurate depictions of take. The second chapter catalogues and analyzes dedicated revenue generated for state wildlife agencies via 25 distinct mechanisms and sought to identify factors which influence intrastate diversity in dedicated revenue. The third chapter examines a growing body of literature regarding the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and finds significant variation in critiques of this concept. I address these concerns in the historical context of the model.

In short, this thesis addresses wildlife communication, the funding model of wildlife conservation, and a model which describes one interpretation of the laws and policies which differentiate wildlife conservation in the United States and Canada from the rest of the world. It is my hope that this work will be of some use to those who seek to conserve wildlife and wild places for future generations.



© Copyright 2022 Charlie R. Booher