Understanding The Importance of Hunters
Some people won’t take this post well. That’s fine, I fully expect that.
However, people need to realize the benefits that come from one of America’s oldest pastimes.
The current Decline in Hunting
Right now, hunting is facing a radical decline in the US. Research has found that hunter participation is down across the board and will continue to drop if the cultural view of hunting continues. With organizations like PETA condemning sportsmen and women, the anti-hunting and pro-animal stance is growing. Here’s the thing, though. Hunting and fishing has done arguably more for animals in the United States than any other organization, and without it, we wouldn’t have the amazing variety of wildlife that we’re able to enjoy today.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president, is known as the forefather of conservation and accomplished more for the cause than any other president.
He established numerous state forests, national parks, wildlife refuges and more. Roosevelt was also an avid hunter and sportsman. The idea that you can’t be pro-hunting and pro-animal is an absolutely ludicrous claim.
Hunters saved our favorite animals
At the beginning of the 20th century, elk, whitetail deer, turkeys and countless other animals were at the brink of extinction in the States. Hunters are the ones who spearheaded campaigns to bring these animals back to the numbers we see today.
State hunting and fishing licenses and fees ($796 million a year), as well as taxes on equipment (in total over $11 billion), go directly to conservation campaigns to protect wildlife with things like the creation of wetlands and reintroduction of species. Sportsmen and women are the ones who lobbied for this. We are willing to give our money to make sure that the animals we love are still around for everyone to enjoy hundreds of years from now. This has been the model of excellence for conservation since its inception, and one that other countries have emulated.
Hunters also help with overcrowding in populations of species, like whitetail deer. Without hunting, these animals would suffer from lack of resources and the spread of disease and also become even more of a nuisance to people when the animals are forced to move to find other areas to provide them with what they need.
Hunters also keep area predator populations in check. All of this helps create and manage a balanced ecosystem where everything can thrive.
Changing the 'Hunter' Mindset
I don’t expect everyone to become a hunter, because it isn’t for everyone. I get the sadness someone can feel when an animal is killed (hunter’s remorse is a legitimate thing).
What I want, though, is to see people advocate more for hunters and less for corrupt organizations that hide under the premise of saving animals. Hunters have done more and continue to do more than anyone else for wildlife, and it’s important that the sport continues, or else we’ll lose the backbone of wildlife conservation in this country.
Next time you’re outside and see a herd of whitetails or a flock of mallards, don’t condemn a hunter for killing these animals. Thank them for the opportunity to continue experiencing them in the wild.