The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (NAM) is a slippery construct, used both to explain how North American wildlife conservation developed and as a prescriptive framework. We argue both applications of the NAM are problematic. The roots of wildlife conservation in North America are more complex than those associated with the NAM, and minimizing contributions from diverse sources makes building a diverse wildlife conservation community more difficult than it would otherwise be. The NAM is not inclusive enough of diversity among wildlife species or stakeholders. Principles labeled the bedrock foundation of the NAM exist in flux and at the whim of political systems. Belief that the NAM reflects a foundation of laws more stable than the milieu of governance structures shaping wildlife management can encourage complacency among wildlife conservation advocates. Wildlife management exists in systems too complex to be beneficially defined by a terse list of principles.