Subsistence hunting remains a traditional practice providing food and many other goods from wildlife resources for households in rural Neotropical areas. In Mexico, this hunting modality is still a misunderstood and underappreciated activity. This article clarifies the reasons for the incompatibility between the current Wildlife Management Units (UMA) model and subsistence hunting through literature review and analysis of current environmental laws, the conclusions of which are reinforced by field observations. It is incongruous that authorities urge rural communities to adopt the UMA model without first recognizing the significance of subsistence hunting practices and communal management of animal resources. I consider that the current Mexican General Law for Wildlife (LGVS) fails to regard subsistence hunting and local wildlife management as important opportunities for wildlife conservation. I conclude that a much-needed review and revision of hunting regulations consider traditional management systems, thus validating elements of “uses and customs” relating to subsistence hunting—themes with direct relevance in Ethnobiology 5, biocultural design and conservation, and applied ethnobiology. The UMA instrument should undergo a careful review process to address particular conceptions of diversified use and management, which have evolved in cultural groups throughout Mexico. If revised, management policy will better align with the environmental and socio-cultural heterogeneities of rural people in Mexico.
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Vol. 38 • No. 3