The very characteristics that make ad hoc management for hunting necessary in such environments make it unnecessary to hunt at all. “Third, hunting in moderately fluctuating environments is not necessary if a good complement of effective natural predators is present. The selectivity of natural predators (more correctly stated as the vulnerability of the prey) is a more exact way to retain equilibrium values of residual populations.
Hunting can accomplish the same end, but because of its lack of selectivity, a higher kill is required than for natural predation to achieve the same end. Stated another way, natural predators are better at reducing chronic mortality than are human hunters, because the former remove the vulnerable individuals most likely to succomb to chronic mortality factors. Thus there is very high substitutability of predator kills for chronic mortality, while for human hunting, chronic mortality is somewhat more additive, although still substitutable to a considerable extent.
“As professionals, wildlife biologists and managers must distinguish between cases where hunting is necessary and where it is not. It is possible to recognize the legitimate interests and necessary roles of human hunters without becoming apologists or advocates for the recreation. Bias toward hunting in situations where hunting is not necessary can only result in loss of credibility. Professional integrity demands that no side of a controversy be given favor on biological grounds that cannot be justified by the biology of the case under review. If hunters are favored because they pay the costs of management through license fees and special taxes, let that be the justification, and not an indefensible position that hunting is necessary in cases where it is not.