Hunters in the U.S. have long realized the need to help pay for the advancement of conservation programs if they want to continue hunting and have animals left over for their children’s children to hunt as well. One of the major problems facing both the U.S. Federal Government and state governments is that the majority of funding for various programs comes from hunting fees and taxes. However, the NPR reports the number of hunters in the U.S. has been falling over the last 50 years and currently only around five percent of the nation hunts, a fall of around 50 percent compared to five decades ago.
1. Hunters Provide Funding for Conservation Programs
The state and federal agencies across the U.S. are reliant on hunters for their funding. Conservation programs rely heavily on hunters for their money through hunting fees charged each season, Michigan Hunter Ed reports.
Some estimates place the level of funding from hunters towards conservation programs has reached around 60 percent with hunting fees the largest source of funding. Other ways hunters have the ability to aid conservation efforts include the levy of taxes on guns and other hunting weapons along with various taxes in clothing and hunting equipment that go towards conservation efforts as well.
2. They Gather information
Along with raising funds for conservation programs, the majority of hunters play an important role in providing statistics and information for nature programs. A range of statistics is gathered due to the work of hunters, including the completion of surveys that are used to provide information about the major issues facing the wildlife of the U.S. and even make officials aware of new areas of conservation never thought of before.
Other ways hunters provide important information for state wildlife agencies include giving samples of the wildlife hunted to state agencies to use for statistics of all kinds.
3. Hunters Help Prevent Predator Overpopulation
North American predators include cougars, bears, and wolves, many of which depending on the state can be assisted in being controlled by hunters willing to pay fees for the chance to hunt these predators. Through various programs and with sportsmen’s help, the U.S. Government has attempted to control these predators without wiping them out completely. Many animal lovers forget that conservation also means means protecting a range of different animals from predators by controlling the number of predators found across the U.S.
4. They Protect the Crops
The initial step towards creating a safe and secure landscape is to take part in conservation efforts aided by hunters who are willing to pay for their rights. One of the most impressive ways of keeping crops safe and limiting disease outbreaks is to keep wildlife populations under control through hunting programs.
If wildlife populations are not controlled through hunting they have the chance to damage crops that are important towards the preservation of human life. If the populations of different forms of wildlife are left unchecked, the possibility of disease devastating populations can be high.
5. President Roosevelt was an Avid Hunter
One of the main reasons why the hunters of the U.S. have played such an important role in the conservation programs of the U.S. is the success of President Theodore Roosevelt. The President was an avid hunter known for his love of tracking game who led the rise of the national forest network and called for hunters to play a role in wildlife conservation. Roosevelt himself was responsible for the decision to turn around 230 million acres of land into the federal property for hunting and public use.
The changing face of U.S. society is making conservation more difficult as the number of hunters in the U.S. continues to fall to historically low levels. Government agencies will be forced to spend more on Federal programs to control populations unless wildlife conservation programs are improved to attract more hunters.