Angela Lüchtrath, Ulrich Schraml


Wildlife management is a complex task which needs the cooperation of many different interest groups, including agriculture, forestry, tourism, nature conservation and hunting. Although all of these groups share a high appreciation of nature, there are often conflicts about how to manage its wildlife and ecosystems. For wildlife managers it is essential to understand the drivers of such conflicts in order to overcome impasses in wildlife and ecosystem management.

The starting point of this paper was the assumption that there is often more to these conflicts than just material interests. As hunters play a major role in wildlife and ecosystem management our aim was to identify drivers of conflicts from their perspective. We analysed passages of group discussions with hunters in different regions of southwest Germany (originally carried out on the topic of the lynx) in which hunters reflect on such conflicts. The method for analyses was Bohnsack’s documentary method.

The results show, that hunters find themselves in a dilemma of differing societal expectations when it comes to wildlife management, none of which reflect their own values and moral standards. Furthermore hunters feel that their work is under-appreciated and that the knowledge and competencies on which they pride themselves are often disrespected. This creates the wish to positively distinguish from the groups they interact with. However, group differentiation, according to the theory of social identity, leads to group conflict. This conflict can extend from the images the groups have of each other and reflect onto the topics where they interact, such as wildlife management, and may even result in poaching. The aim of our article is to draw attention to such group differentiation processes and its effects, to help wildlife managers further communication and cooperation between the interacting groups.


social conflict, group conflict, hunters, nature conservation, interaction

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ISSN: 2335-0113

Publisher: Visio Mundi Academic Media Group

Creative Commons License
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.