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Protected or endangered species

Species that are not allowed to be hunted are protected, rare and endangered species.

Endangered species are species that historically lived in an area but its population has decreased to the point that the species is on the verge of extinction. Threatened species are at risk of becoming endangered. Rare species may have always been in few numbers, or suffered a major decline in population. Rare species are watched for further decline toward threatened or endangered status. Some reasons for the decline of a species include loss of habitat, disease, or competition from other species. You can review more about endangered species and how wildlife managers are trying to save these species in the Wildlife Conservation section of this course.

Protected species include raptors, songbirds and many shorebirds. Raptors are birds of prey, and they include eagles, falcons, hawks and owls. Songbirds are many of the common birds you see in backyards and woods, such as cardinals, finches, and many more species. Shorebirds often migrate with huntable waterfowl. Pelicans, herons, gulls, egrets and many smaller shorebirds are protected.

As a hunter, you must be especially watchful for "look-alike" species—species that look or act similar to huntable species but are actually protected. For example, the meadowlark can be mistaken for quail or dove. Sparrow hawks can look like doves. Many protected sparrow and song birds look like the unprotected English sparrow. All these remind hunters to be sure of their target before pulling the trigger.

For a list of the species currently listed as endangered, see the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at http://endangered.fws.gov/wildlife.html

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