Not enough is said to the younger generation about hunting conservation and what it means to the outdoor world.
Hunting conservation is only a conflict in terms for the uninitiated. As much as we love our natural resources and spout off about the work the hunting community does for wildlife conservation, it real results demand a helping hand from all of us.
Personally, I believe that it all starts with the younger generation.
To continue to create hunting opportunities for future generations, those of us who have benefitted from a lifetime of hunting have to make an effort. It's the veteran hunting community that created a good name for conservation in hunting.
The younger hunters, fishermen and all-around outdoorsmen of the world have had to listen to us spew our knowledge for years, and now it's time they knew why. The wild places of the world, particularly in North America, have seen conservation programs thrive over the years from their humble beginnings, and there's a reason for that success.
The Truth About Hunting As Conservation
On Sept. 2, 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Pittman-Robertson Act, which went into effect July 1 of the next year. Providing funding for the selection, restoration and improvement of wildlife habitat and for wildlife management research, the act was one of the most important events in the history of conservation, and one the younger generation needs to understand.
While the older generation of outdoorsmen might not like to see 10-percent excise taxes on things like sporting arms, ammunition, archery equipment, handguns and hunting and fishing licenses, we still understand the purpose of funding wildlife management research, as well as the restoration and improvement of wildlife habitat.
Not all of it comes from the outdoor hunting and fishing community, either, as anyone who uses our national parks, state parks or other public lands also helps fund conservation programs.
This is why we're so adamant about the volume of money hunters give to the wildlife conservation fund.
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North American Model of Wildlife Conservation
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was inspired by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act of 1934, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950.
Here are the seven reasons why:
- Wildlife is a public resource.
- Markets for game are eliminated.
- Allocation of wildlife by law.
- Wildlife can only be killed for a legitimate purpose.
- Wildlife species are considered an international resource.
- Science is the proper tool for discharge of wildlife policy.
- The democracy of hunting.
Thanks to the conservation-forward hunters of the world, market hunting is no longer allowed, long-term sustainability of wildlife populations is ensured, science is what objectively makes the decision about wild animal health and population, licensing is required to hunt and is based on season dates and bag limits generated by that science. And, everyone is welcome to take part.
Hunter Education Comes in Many Forms
Conservationists are not an endangered species. While there's some truth to the notion that hunters want more game animals so they can hunt more of them, conservation organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have helped to ensure that the species and their ecosystems are not overused in such a way that would endanger their population as a whole.
It's hunters that front these organizations.
Hunters have long since learned that game meat is not the only reason to care about the wild animals that we hunt, and even non-hunters can respect that. Once a hunting license was required to hunt, we needed wildlife law enforcement to make sure that issues such as poaching were taken seriously.
Wild game animals need hunters as much as hunters need them. When it comes to the public trust, no one understands the need for what I call "self-regulation" like the hunters and outdoorsmen of the world.