The last twenty years have witnessed an explosion of opposition to the killing of wild animals based, in part, on concerns about inhumane killing techniques and the preservation of species but rooted, ultimately, in ethical objections to the killing of wild animals to serve human purposes. Nowhere has this development given rise to sharper conflicts than in the North, where the consumptive use of wild animals is not only critical as a source of cash income but also integral to subsistence economies and cultures. A striking feature of this set of conflicts is the variation in the outcomes that have occurred. While preservationists have succeeded in putting a stop to the killing of some wild animals (for example, newborn harp seals in eastern Canada), consumptive users have rallied to protect their practices with regard to other wild animals (for example, bowhead whales in northern Alaska). Drawing on a selection of prominent northern cases, this essay seeks to identify the principal factors that determine the outcomes of these conflicts over the killing of wild animals. The essay takes no stand on the ethical issues associated with these conflicts.