Human harvest of animals in the wild occurs in terrestrial and aquatic habitats throughout the world and is often intense. Harvest has the potential to cause three types of genetic change: alteration of population subdivision, loss of genetic variation, and selective genetic changes. To sustain the productivity of harvested populations, it is crucial to incorporate genetic considerations into management. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to disentangle genetic and environmental causes of phenotypic changes to develop management plans for individual species. We recommend recognizing that some genetic change due to harvest is inevitable. Management plans should be developed by applying basic genetic principles combined with molecular genetic monitoring to minimize harmful genetic change.