The social and political dynamics of wildlife management have changed markedly since the emergence of the profession. Today much of the legal responsibility to manage wildlife rests with state agencies. These agencies essentially have institutionalized the discipline, providing the regulatory, normative, and cultural foundation for wildlife management within each state. Pressure for reform of the state wildlife management institution is increasing. These pressures include the need for consistent sources of funding for wildlife management to offset the revenue decline from historically reliable license sales as numbers of hunters and trappers decline; increased interest from nontraditional stakeholders for better access to and involvement in the decision-making process; and demands from society for expansion of services provided (e.g., wildlife damage mitigation, disease control). We believe that state wildlife agencies can play a crucial role in initiating and guiding constructive reforms. We argue that state wildlife agencies can become more effective and valued by society if they are seen as agents of change. State wildlife management agencies, particularly the professionals staffing such agencies, have the opportunity to manage and lead change in a way that benefits the agencies, the public, and wildlife. We identify what we believe are some opportunities for wildlife professionals to become change agents.
state wildlife management institution