Recently I was in a conversation, something along the lines of, "I thought you were an animal lover, how can you support hunting?" So I started to write up this quick little post; which easily turned into a 10 page essay! After shortening it down to the basics and adding in a few financial statistics and InfoGraphics, here we go...
There are many misconceptions about hunting, so let's dive on in with some facts:
- Organic eating is gaining in popularity everyday. Store bought meat is absolutely disgusting; those animals are pumped with hormones, kept in unsanitary living conditions, some "meat" even contains added coloring and added flavoring! What kind of meat requires meat flavoring? Hunters, we eat what we kill and you can't get anymore organic than that. Just clean, lean, high protein meat; win!
- There's a tax of 11% on firearms and ammunition, also bows/arrows, which generates just under $400 million dollars a year towards funding for conservation programs. You may have a dislike for hunters, but know that we play a major roll in funding the programs that maintain our National Parks, protect wildlife and jobs.
- Yes, hunting creates jobs! Over a half-million including game wardens, restaurant/hotel/gift shop employees, ranchers, grounds keepers, biologists, geologists, plus seasonal jobs from ski resorts and summer hot spots, (etc.) all play a part in keeping our National Parks and Conservation Areas running for everyone to enjoy.
- Do you enjoy visiting our National Parks? Well you can thank our 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, he's known as our Conservationist President. Because of him our national parks, forests, grasslands, and wildlife are forever protected throughout 230 million acres open to the public. He was also an avid hunter!
- State hunting permits, now raise almost $800 million per year which is funding for conservation protection. Without hunters, there would be significantly less conservation programs.
- And the numbers get bigger! After factoring in the taxes collected with the permits and miscellaneous fees, you end up with $1.6 billion raised from hunting alone. Without hunters, where do you think that $1.6 billion would come from?
- You may see a pet-like wolf, a sly fox, or a mischievous raccoon; what I see is a dangerous animal that is hungrily chasing down horses, livestock, and pets! By helping to keep these predators and nuisance animals in check (balanced), we are giving non-predatory animals - herds and flocks - an equal chance survive.
- Within the past hundred years elk, deer, turkey, and waterfowl have grown from thousands into the millions. This is thanks to proper regulating and conservation programs. Without these programs, funding aided by hunters, who knows how low these populations could have dropped to. Could you imagine not seeing some of today's most common wildlife, such as ducks or turkey?
- All wild animals are protected! If you kill/trap/collect game or fish without a permit/license, outside of legal hours, from a vehicle, without property owner's permission - it's called poaching. This is inexcusable and penalties include the loss of future permits, forfeiture of gear/vehicle/boat, and/or fines. Today, states are currently working to pass legislation for stricter punishments.
- Here's a fun fact, that you learned from above but may not have considered, plants are also protected. If you decide to take a walk and grab up a few wild mushrooms, berries, flowers, ginseng, you could be cited for poaching; conservation programs protect all life pertaining to the wild! The illegal harvesting of plant-life endangers insects/wildlife, disrupts pollination, leaves behind destruction such as holes/tire ruts/litter/other damages all for the property owners to deal with, and could be fatal if the wrong type of plant is ingested, or if you get caught trespassing.
That's what I have to share today, if I missed or didn't touch on a topic enough, please feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks for following along, Sarah Cox!
March 25th, 2015
(updated 3/27/15 - added InfoGraphics)
Sources: Wide Open Spaces, US Fish & Wildlife Service, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The National Park Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, US Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture