A study launching this year will measure the actual amounts of venison and other wild protein harvested annually in North America. Researchers will assess the nutritional, cultural, and economic values of this harvest, as well as the ecological costs of replacing this food through standard agriculture and domestic livestock production.
Dallas Safari Club is the founding sponsor of the project, pledging $200,000 over the next two years. DSC officials hope other sponsors will come aboard to help advance the study.
“This research isn’t just fascinating. It’s critical to help modern society understand the full scale of hunting on this continent, and of the natural, organic, sustainable food that today’s hunters provide for their families,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director. “Additionally, this research will help all of us understand the hidden costs when hunting traditions are eroded—or attacked.”
Every year, some 40 million citizens in the U.S. and Canada harvest protein sustainably from forests and fields, streams, and lakes. The study will show just how much wild protein the two nations provide annually and its real value to our society.
The “Wild Harvest Initiative” will be conducted under the direction of research biologist Shane Mahoney, founder and CEO of Conservation Visions, Inc.
“The harvest and consumption of wildlife has been an integral part of the human story throughout the entirety of our existence,” Mahoney said. “Agricultural and technological progress have certainly altered our direct dependence and engagement in this process, but in many regions of the world, including the U.S. and Canada, human populations continue to rely on wild harvest for a significant part of their diet.”
Harvest research will enable better understanding of the economic effects of resource management approaches, validate policy and governance structures, and empower best practices for providing sustainable use of wild protein to as many people as possible.
The five-year initiative is scheduled to begin later this year. To learn more, visit www.conservationvisions.com.