March 11, 2021
Are we losing our social license to hunt?
Social license refers to the perceptions of the public that deem an activity as socially acceptable. The concept of an activity requiring a "social license" emerged in the 1990's as the natural resource industry realized they needed to build public and stakeholder support for resource extraction projects to be successful.
A recent article published by Chris Darimont in the Society of Conservation Biology Journal applied the concept of social license to hunting. The study suggests that the public perception of hunting carnivores can pose threats to the social license for carnivore hunters and potentially other hunters.
The article kicked off a storm of discussion and reaction within the hunting community. There has been a call to action across social media platforms encouraging hunters to take action to "defend" hunting rights. What are we defending, what's the battle, who are we fighting, who started it, what's at risk.... are we just fighting ourselves?
I have a lot of questions and I am confused, so let's have a discussion.
I have invited Jenny Ly with Chasing Food Club and volunteer with BC Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and Jesse Zeman, BCWF director for Fish and Wildlife Restoration on to the podcast to try to understand what's happening in our community. We talk about our interpretation of social licence and how, as a hunting community we can build our social licence
We are living in an era where images and storytelling inform public perception.
What is the impact of the images we share? Can we do a better job of telling our stories?
Please share this podcast.
Note: In our discussion, I overestimated the number of new hunters. Based on the stats that I have, there has been an increase of 11,000 more hunters purchasing licenses in 2021 than in 2011.
Total BC Hunting Licenses Issued:
2010/11 - 95,000
2020/21 - 106,000