Hunting advocates and various fish and game bureaus argue that hunting is an effective and needed means to control various species and manage wildlife. One such claim says that "hunting benefits all wildlife" and that:

Scientifically-based and regulated hunting has never led to threatened or endangered wildlife populations, ever!

I think "regulated hunting" is a pretty clear term. I'm not sure what "scientifically-based hunting" is, but I think it's safe to assume some empirical data is involved. I would expect "scientifically-based" anything to look a lot like legitimate science with lots of observational data correlated to various activities and actions.

Considering the complexity of any ecosystem, I have a hard time believing that all hunting (wildlife harvesting) schemes done with conservationist intentions, even based on scientific data, have never had unintended negative consequences. However, the claim specifically says threatened and endangered populations, which is pretty strictly defined in a scientific sense. The claim may just be hiding behind a strict set of definitions. If the claim is strictly true, has it ever come close to that?

  • I am sorry but your post is very confusing to me. Keep it simple: quote a claim, reference the claim, and ask "Is this claim valid"? You do not need to do anything other than that.
    – user32299
    Oct 21, 2018 at 19:51
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    What if the extinction of a species is what the "regulation" was about?
    – DevSolar
    Oct 22, 2018 at 11:59
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    Despite saying "regulated hunting" is a clear term, it looks like it might turn into a "true Scotsman" problem. When was hunting first "regulated"? Is that concept so new that we haven't had a chance to attribute extinctions to it? Has it ever been regulated? (I am thinking of examples like passenger pigeon, shark finning, whaling, the northern white rhinoceros, muskox. Where it was legal to hunt, was it considered regulated? Where it was illegal to hunt and hunting continued, was it regulated?)
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 22, 2018 at 14:44
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    @fredsbend You misunderstand: this is not a topic for discussion, because I have no dog in this hunt. I am simply informing you — for future reference — that keeping your posts clean of vagueness and speculation increases the chances of useful replies, because concise and precise questions generally attract more answers than long-winded and imprecise posts.
    – user32299
    Oct 22, 2018 at 16:03
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    I think we've confirmed it as a True Scotsman problem. The claim only applies to laws which limit the number of kills, which are followed, and are very recent, and are in the region. This makes it such as small set (the null set?) we can't be too surprised that there are no examples of extinction. It makes it a weak defence of their political position though.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 24, 2018 at 2:48

1 Answer 1


Yes, as part of a hunting program begun and regulated through bounties by the Australian government in the late 1800's the thylacine was hunted to extinction.

According to the Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania the thylacine had disappeared from mainland Australia thousands of years prior, but by 1803 thylacines were widespread in Tasmania. However, the introduction of sheep in 1824 led to conflict between farmers and the thylacine.

In 1888 the Tasmanian Parliament placed a hunting bounty of £1 per thylacine, and 20 years later the hunting program was ended due to their rarity, with 2184 bounties paid out. The London Zoo bought its last thylancine for £150 in 1926, and in 1933 the last wild thylacine, named Benjamin, was captured. With no confirmed sightings for decades, the thylacine was officially declared extinct in 1986.

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    Was the bounty system regulated? Almost sounds like it was more of a free-for-all per dead animal. I'm not sure if I would count a bounty system without limits as "regulated".
    – JMac
    Oct 22, 2018 at 13:40
  • @JMac: According to a comment by the OP, a regulation as simple as "kill them all every year" counts as regulated hunting, so "kill them all and get some money" definitely is too. The claim was quite broad and very absolute, so pretty much any pest eradication program like this would fit. A better question, and probably harder to answer, would be if any hunting program that didn't have goal of threatening extinction accidentally threaten extinction, but that's not what was claimed.
    – Giter
    Oct 22, 2018 at 13:48
  • But was "kill them all" actually ever part of it? If there was never any control or direction given for the bounty, would you consider that hunting "regulated" at all? It sounds like there was no regulation, and that's why they went extinct.
    – JMac
    Oct 22, 2018 at 13:59
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    @JMac: A bounty for specific animals in a specific location created by government authority fits several definitions of regulation: "an authoritative rule dealing with details or procedure", or "rule or order issued by an executive authority or regulatory agency of a government and having the force of law".
    – Giter
    Oct 22, 2018 at 14:10
  • I guess it depends on the context they were using regulate in their specific claim. For example, regulate also refers to controlling the rate or amount; which clearly doesn't happen in the cited case. I guess what I'm really saying is the claim is quite vague. This doesn't rule out that you could go back and say "that's not what I meant by regulated" which I guess isn't really a problem with your answer.
    – JMac
    Oct 22, 2018 at 14:19

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