Hunting and conservationism are often shown to be at odds with one another. Stories of trophy hunters traveling around the world to hunt endangered species are regularly shared on news and social platforms.
However, trophy hunters are not a proper representation of the North American hunting community. The large majority of hunters are licensed and law-abiding people who target local wildlife that have healthy populations. They hunt for food, general sport, and in cases, land/livestock protection.
These hunters tend to be strong advocates for the protection and conservation of wildlife and their native habitats.
How Hunters Help Conserve Wildlife in America
Hunters and wildlife conservation have a long-running history in the US. The National Wildlife Refuge Systems, which protects over 150 million acres of natural habitat was started by President Theodore Roosevelt, an ardent hunter.
The Federal Migratory Game Bird and Conservation Stamp (a.k.a. Duck Stamp), which must be purchased in order to hunt migratory game birds, has raised over $700 million for habitat protection and conservation. The profits from other state hunting licenses and fees largely go toward protecting wildlife, conserving habitat, keeping water clean, etc.
There is also the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, which places an 11% tax on sporting firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. This tax generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year, providing critical funds to every state for managing their local wildlife and natural habitats.
Finally, non-profits such as Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever are predominantly overseen and supported by hunters.
Environmental Benefits of Hunting
In addition to providing financial support for conservation and habitat restoration, hunting can directly help balance and protect local ecosystems. If one wildlife species becomes too prevalent, problems can start to arise. Even species that are otherwise non-threatening can damage and drain resources when their numbers become too great. For example, excessive amounts of deer can actually harm forests and natural vegetation.
Hunting can help maintain the population of deer and other species, curbing potential problems.
Hunters also help ward off dangerous and harmful wildlife. For example, coyotes pose a threat to farm animals, pets, and even children. Though a license isn’t needed to hunt coyotes in many states, hunters nevertheless take a prominent role in keeping them at bay.
Protecting Wildlife and Promoting Hunting
While hunting and wildlife conservation organizations have helped bring countless species back from the brink of extinction across the US, many areas still struggle with low wildlife populations. This largely stems from a loss of habitat. In addition to reducing populations, habitat loss results in remaining wildlife appearing in human populated areas.
This poses a number of serious problems for both people and the animals themselves.
Countless animals wander across roads, often resulting in the loss of wildlife and serious accidents. Deer alone cause around 1.5 million car accidents per year. Additionally, many wildlife carry disease, which can be passed to humans through direct contact, ticks, and more.
Farmers and landowners can help combat these issues and promote wildlife conservation by enrolling marginal land in the Conservation Reserve Program. CRP provides rental payments and cost-share reimbursement in exchange for taking land out of active production and establishing native vegetation such as grasses and forbs.
Not only does this restore and protect damaged soil, but it provides vital habitat for wildlife such as deer, pheasants, ducks, and more. Since its inception, CRP has contributed to a 30% increase in ducks, 22% increase in ring-necked pheasants, and more. Native grasslands also attract and sustain white-tailed deer, songbirds and important pollinators.
If you’re looking to enroll land in CRP, FDCE makes it easy. We provide full-service CRP solutions that take care of buying CRP seed mixes, planting, herbicide application, documentation, and report submission for cost-share reimbursement.
With FDCE, protecting wildlife and restoring land health has never been easier.