[Book review] American sportsmen and the origins of conservation

The Auk



The relationship of this book to ornithology is so indirect that the work barely merits a review on these pages. In a rather subtle way, however, the book may have a considerable effect on at least one aspect of ornithology, that involving scientific collecting. In essence, the volume is an entry in the hunting versus antihunting controversy, by a historian who is a sportsman. A challenge to antihunting preservationists, the premise is that sportsmen (those who hunt and fish for pleasure rather than for food or profit), and not preservationists, were the founders of conservation concepts in the United States. The implied conclusion is that modern hunting and fishing are valid, conservation- oriented activities. The proof of the thesis depends on demonstrating that those persons who led the conservation movement were in fact sportsmen, as defined, rather than fitting any other categorization, and that only those who fit the definition were effective. The method is to detail both the sporting proclivities and conservation efforts of leaders in the movement and to ignore or belittle other activities of those persons and other persons not considered sportsmen. Although effective in making a point, the technique suffers from the difficulties inherent in any one-character classification.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title [Book review] American sportsmen and the origins of conservation
Series title The Auk
Volume 93
Issue 4
Year Published 1976
Language English
Publisher American Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 2 p.
First page 864
Last page 865
Public Comments A review of: American sportsmen and the origins of conservation. J. F. Reiger. 1975. New York, Winchester Press. 316 pp