Wildlife conservation may not be the first topic that comes to mind when thinking about hunting, but now it can be.
Hunting and hunters usually have get a bad rap when it comes to wildlife conservation, but hunting is actually a form of wildlife conservation in itself.
Hunting helps maintain population levels not only in the forest but also around other areas with human activity, land use, and available habitats.
Hunting can help limit deer browsing in agricultural areas and cut down on deer-car collisions. Hunting can even lead to your garden being eaten less.
Specialists can use the number of deer or other wildlife harvested each year to determine where the population stands in terms of numbers.
For example, if they see a spike in doe population, they can encourage hunters to harvest does and even balance the doe to buck population. If too many of one kind of species is harvested, they can adjust the limit hunters are allowed to harvest and let the population recover a little bit.
The Pittman-Robertson Act
The Pittman-Robertson Act, also known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, was established in 1937. The Act created an excise tax on guns, ammo, bows, arrows, and other hunting equipment.
This tax is built into the price of hunting-related items and the money is then allocated to state wildlife agencies. Wildlife agencies can use the money to conduct research for wildlife reintroductions or to improve wildlife habitats.
The money from the Pittman-Robertson tax benefits a huge variety of species including those that are not hunted.
Hunters play an important role in conservation through the Pittman-Robertson Act. In Michigan, hunters contribute 80 percent of the funds for the Department of Natural Resources wildlife management.
Sportsmen’s clubs play an important role in wildlife conservation as well. A lot of them band together and buy, or raise money to conserve, private lands for wildlife habitats. Some partner with federal agencies and conduct significant conservation efforts.
Many sportsmen’s club members also lobby for laws that benefit hunting and shooting and ultimately benefit wildlife.
There are some people that use hunting as a case against wildlife conservation, but in truth, hunting is just one form of wildlife conservation.
Hunters have the power to affect wildlife population levels for the better and they provide a great deal of money for endless wildlife conservations efforts such as research and habitat improvements.