November 3rd, 2007

Hunters Contribute to Wildlife Conservation

Hunters are a very important force in land and wildlife conservation. A National Geographic feature article, Hunters: For the Love of the Land, demonstrates how hunters help preserve wildlife and open lands: “[T]he nation’s 12.5 million hunters have become essential partners in wildlife management. They have paid more than 700 million dollars for duck stamps, which have added 5.2 million acres to the National Wildlife Refuge System since 1934, when the first stamps were issued. They pay millions of dollars for licenses, tags, and permits each year, which helps finance state game agencies. They contribute more than 250 million dollars annually in excise taxes on guns, ammunition, and other equipment, which largely pays for new public game lands. Hunters in the private sector also play a growing role in conserving wildlife.”

This 8-page article, written by hunter Robert M. Poole, is well worth a read. Poole raises many intriguing points. Poole suggests that hunting is an important part of our heritage: “[H]umans are still programmed for the chase, since our species has been doing that far longer than we have been farming, writing poetry, or marketing stuff by telephone at dinnertime.” But Poole also observes that “In recent decades, the number of hunters has been dropping. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, there were 14.1 million hunters in 1991, 13 million in 2001, and 12.5 million in 2006, which means that they now make up a mere 5 percent of the adult population. Younger hunters are entering the field but not in sufficient number to replace the old ones[.]” Poole’s article suggests that it is time we re-double our efforts to involve more young people in hunting and the shooting sports.

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