Have a busy schedule, but still want to give back to hunting? Here is how.
If you are like us, you probably have a schedule that never seems to slow down. You are constantly bouncing from one commitment to the next with hardly any time for yourself. It can be a bit frustrating if you are the type who loves to give back into the pastime you love when there is simply no time to be a hunting mentor, or to volunteer for other activities that give back to conservation.
Worry not. We have some ideas for ways you can still make an impact on hunting and conservation. Even if you have very little time to spare for it.
These solutions may only have a tiny impact, but every little bit helps in the grand scheme of things. And you can feel better knowing you are giving back where you can.
Picking up trash from natural areas.
Even if you only get out a few times this season, this is something we should all practice while walking to and from our stands. Especially if you are hunting or fishing on public land. Unfortunately, some hunting areas have a lot of trash on them. Be that spent shells, empty doe pee bottles, or assorted food wrappers. It seems worst in fishing areas where discarded line, empty worm containers, and more seem to litter the banks. When it comes to keeping our wild places natural and clean, every little bit helps. It only takes a moment to clean up a few items of trash and then dump them in a proper garbage can at the gas station when you stop for coffee on the way home from the field. Helping to pick up our own messes goes a long way to showing hunters truly love and care about the environment. It only takes a moment of your time, and it makes the experience better for those who hunt that area after you.
Buy a Duck Stamp
Even if you are not a waterfowler, purchasing a federal duck stamp helps significantly with vital wetland conservation. The Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act has been around since 1934 and has helped preserve millions of acres of habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Approximately 98 cents of every dollar feeds back to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. This, in turn, allows the purchase of more lands for National Wildlife Refuges. Funds generated from stamp sales also help with badly needed habitat improvement projects. Each stamp is just $25, and they are also highly collectable. Even if you do not think you'll hunt waterfowl this year due to a lack of time, it's worth picking one up, just to help conservation efforts.
Lend your property to a hunter access program.
One of the largest barriers to hunting is probably simply a lack of access of places to hunt. Especially in states like Texas where most land is privately owned. While most states do own public land, much of it is often overrun because many hunters have no other options. Fortunately, most states have some sort of hunter access program where landowners can open their private lands to the public. In many states, these programs come with financial incentives for the landowners. If you do not have much time to hunt this year, it is a good way to earn a little extra money while giving someone else a chance to hunt a brand-new area. I recently returned from a pheasant hunting trip to Aberdeen, South Dakota where one such program is funded by local businesses. The program has two benefits. One, it helps give more places to experience some of the best pheasant hunting opportunities in North America. Two, it helps stimulate the local economy because the town has now become a destination spot for hunters. These programs really are a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Attend wildlife banquets.
We know you're busy, but if you can squeeze in just one night a year to be an attendee at a wildlife or conservation banquet, it's worth it. Many local chapters of organizations like Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, etc., hold these events a few times a year. They are often the place where many conservation organizations generate most of their funds for their yearly projects. In some cases, it may be the chapter's ONLY source of revenue for the whole year. So, it pays to carve out at least one evening for it. The money often goes into things like local habitat improvement or hunter recruitment efforts. If you can, consider donating some money or a prize for a raffle. Even better, you can make local connections with like-minded people who can help you find other ways to help with the little time you have.
Join a local conservation club chapter.
This goes in hand with what we just mentioned. Joining the local chapter of your favorite conservation organization like Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, Boone and Crockett Club, or Trout Unlimited is a great way to contribute to hunting and fishing. Even if you never have the time to attend meetings or other get-togethers. Your membership dues will go towards vital conservation projects. Anything listed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit is a solid choice. Then, when you do have some time to give back, there will be no shortage of volunteer opportunities to participate in to help on a deeper level.
Stay informed on the issues and vote accordingly.
Finally, another simple way to give back to hunting is simply to stay informed on the issues going on in your state. Almost every state has some sort of hunting issue tied up in legislation. Make sure you make your voice heard on important issues. Contact your local representatives and let them know what hunting and fishing matters matter to you. Most importantly, keep an eye on the ballots. It does not happen often, but sometimes hunting and fishing proposals show up on the ballot. So, make sure you vote on these initiatives.
These are just a few of the ways you can give back to hunting and fishing. Even if you are busy with school, work, etc., there are ways to give back to our favorite activities and conservation in general. With a little creativity, you can help a lot with minimal effort.
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