Heather’s Corner – Conservation through Hunting

Many are under the misconception that hunters are only after the kill.  It can be difficult to understand how harvesting an animal can aid the conservation of its species.  It is my goal to bring to light how hunters are also conservationists.

     According to information from the US Fish & Wildlife service; the sale of hunting licenses, tags, and stamps are the primary source of funding for most state wildlife conservation efforts.  Each year nearly $200 million in hunters federal excise taxes are distributed to state agencies to support wildlife management programs, the purchase of land, and hunters safety classes.  In 2005 alone the proceeds from the Federal Duck Stamp; required for migratory bird hunters, have purchased more than 5 million acres of habitat which supports waterfowl and many other wildlife species.  These statistics come from the licensing aspect alone; according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation hunters pay more than $1.6 billion dollars each year to conservation programs.
     I have taken the time to gather some information from each of these organizations which are funded primarily by hunters.  Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of waterfowl habitat and have raised nearly $3.5 billion since it was founded in 1937.  In 1982 Pheasants Forever was founded and has since created or enhanced wildlife habitat on 10 million acres across the US and Canada.  Since 1984 the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has restored more than 1,700 square miles of habitat for elk and other wildlife.  More than $488 million has been raised by the National Wild Turkey Federation for the preservation of habitat and our hunting heritage.  Trout Unlimited has worked to protect 13 million acres of healthy backcountry habitat that is absolutely vital to trout and salmon populations as well as irreplaceable elk herds. To date $55.1 million has been expended on projects including; college scholarships, assistance to wildlife agencies, research, habitat enhancement, public education, hunters safety, anti-poaching measures, and cooperation with other conservation groups by Whitetails Unlimited.  These are but a few of the organizations out there which hunters are a part of.
     Aside from the money and land that hunters have put forth, lets talk about another important aspect of conservation hunters take part of.  Through ethical hunting we are able to cull the older and weaker members of the herd.  This allows the males of the population who are of ideal breeding age to fill in where older males who are past their prime would normally be breeding.  By allowing males in their prime to breed the chances of healthier young go up which in turn creates a stronger population.  It also allows for those older members of the species a more ethical passing.  The ways of fang or claw and exposure and starvation are a far more cruel fate than hunters bestow on the animals they hunt.
     One last point i will make is maybe less to do with land conservation but airs more on the side of preserving ethical practices for meat and food consumption.  It is no secret that factory farming is a less than pleasant life for the animals who live it.  By harvesting our own meat we are not giving our money to these practices.  We also are able to provide very clean and lean protein to our families which are not injected with hormones.
     Many hunters believe in self-sourcing other forms of food as well.  Personally, aside from hunting we also raise our own chickens for both eggs and meat; they have plenty of space to move about and are treated with love and respect,  eventually we plan to add a couple goats for milk.  We also garden; the mass farming of vegetables are not exempt from contributing to habitat and wildlife destruction.  The herbicides and pesticides sprayed on vegetables in mass farming do not simply stay where they have been sprayed.  Runoff carries these chemicals into streams, lakes, and rivers thus introducing them to wildlife.   Now please note i am not insinuating that all hunters raise livestock and garden nor am i implying all who raise livestock and gardens are hunters; however there are many of us who do try to do all three in order to provide food in the most ethical and healthy form.
     I hope this has helped you gain knowledge of how much hunters and anglers care and respect both the wildlife we hunt and fish along with our hunting heritage.  It is our hope this land and the wildlife in it will last for generations to come so our children and our children’s children will also get to enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors.

Jan 05, 2016 | Category: Blog, Conservation, Heather's Corner | Comments: 7

 

7 comments on “Heather’s Corner – Conservation through Hunting

  1. Paula

    Well said 🙂

  2. Lee iverson

    Very informational heather… one of the many reasons im proud to be a hunter is knowing that im doing my part towards conservation!

  3. Erin loecker

    Great info for everyone!!

  4. Jessica Taylor

    I love to see people like you sharing your knowledge of conservation. I think a lot more people should take the time to learn and understand why hunting is vital to they environment.

  5. Brooke

    This is a great blog! I am currently going to school for a degree in Natural Resource Management and one of the papers that I chose to write is on the effects of Elk population in Rocky Mountain National Park. One of the major issues that kept coming up was the culling of Elk for research on Chronic Wasting disease and to control the population without trying to reintroduce Wolves into the park. I noticed a lot of people were really upset that this was the solution but they don’t understand that it is helpful for the ecosystem and even for the people of Estes Park. If wolves were reintroduced they would more than likely start appearing in the town and this could be dangerous for the people of Estes Park. I think a lot of people are uneducated on the way that predators and different species can affect their lives.

  6. Tara Wagner

    That’s an awesome informative article. People are often misled in the true meaning of hunting.

  7. Education is the key, most people fear and criticize what they do not understand. That is why it is so important for us to continue doing what we do. Great article

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