DU Position on Hunting

Ducks Unlimited, Inc. was founded by hunter-conservationists in 1937 and conservation has always been its mission. Ducks Unlimited, Inc. is first and foremost an organization dedicated to conserving wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife, and the majority of its members are hunters. Ducks Unlimited, Inc. strongly supports the right to bear arms and believes that with that right comes a responsibility to use firearms lawfully and safely. Wildlife management, hunting, and habitat conservation in North America are interdependent, and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. strongly supports hunting. The financial contributions of hunters and recreational shooters, through mechanisms such as their hunting licenses and excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition, provide the foundation for conservation funding throughout the nation.

This linkage between hunters and conservation forms the backbone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The model consists of seven key components:

  1. Wildlife is public property. The government holds wildlife in trust for the benefit of all people.
  2. Wildlife cannot be slaughtered for commercial use. This principle eliminates trafficking in game animals.
  3. Wildlife is allocated by law. Every citizen in good standing – regardless of wealth, social standing or land ownership – is allowed to participate in the harvest of fish and wildlife within guidelines set by state and federal governments.
  4. Wildlife shall be taken by legal and ethical means, in the spirit of "fair chase" and with good cause. Animals can be killed only for legitimate purposes – for food and fur, in self-defense, or for protection of property.
  5. Wildlife is an international resource. As such, hunting and fishing shall be managed cooperatively across state, provincial, and national boundaries.
  6. Wildlife management, use, and conservation shall be based on sound scientific knowledge and principles.
  7. Hunting, fishing and trapping shall be democratic. This gives all persons – wealthy and poor, landowner and non-landowner alike – the opportunity to participate.

Ducks Unlimited, Inc. supports these seven components of wildlife management. It supports the sustainable, legal use and harvest of renewable resources based on sound science under the management of state and federal wildlife agencies. It supports the democratic allocation of these resources to ensure they remain valued by the people of the United States and available for their use and enjoyment. Ducks Unlimited, Inc. supports the right of the public to own firearms and to hunt. Wetland conservation is Ducks Unlimited, Inc.'s highest priority and will remain so. However, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. recognizes that conservation can only take place with the strong and broad-based support of people, and therefore, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. supports legal hunting of professionally managed, renewable wildlife resources, and opposes efforts that unnecessarily infringe or restrict such hunting or negatively impact the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.