[US] Government wildlife authorities and some conservation groups have for years argued that allowing some legal hunting can help reduce the illegal killing of threatened carnivores like wolves and grizzly bears. Their theory — though there has been little scientific research to support it — has been that legalizing hunting helps reduce resentment among landowners, increase support for conservation and decrease poaching. But the authors of a new study of wolves, published Wednesday, say their findings offer the first quantitative evidence that government authorization of any legal killing of wolves appears to increase illegal killing.[...] the study showed, he said, that “there are always going to be unintended consequences of management decisions, and we do not know most of the time what those unintended consequences are.”I would argue that the same applies to artefact hunting in places like the UK, where it is widely claimed by its supporters that legalising artefact hunting somehow reduces the amount of illegal artefact hunting going on. This is even what the Nighthawking report suggested (but readers who remember my discussion of that in this blog will know that I consider their methodology and therefore conclusions seriously flawed). Of course rendering an illegal activity legal by simply changing the law does not equate in any way or form with reducing depletion of and damage to the archaeological record by artefact hunting, indeed, it seems to be promoting it.