All too often, hunters get a bad wrap from animal rights organizations and self-labeled animal lovers. However, most hunters are strong supporters of wildlife and habitat conservation.
According to the article, “Hunters for love of the land,” published in the November 2007 issue of National Geographic, “The great irony is that many species might not survive at all were it not for hunters trying to kill them… the 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.”
Many prominent landowners are conserving wildlife:
“Ted Turner, who is a hunter as well as a media pioneer, is also the country’s largest private landowner. He has worked tirelessly to restore the American bison through much of its range. Now he manages some two million acres (800,000 hectares) in the U.S. for biodiversity and for sustainable ranching, timbering, fishing—and hunting.
‘It starts with managing the land properly,’ said Turner, who allows paying visitors to hunt for quail, bison, elk, antelope, wild turkey, and other species on his properties. ‘You need good healthy land for good healthy animals. They need good water, good cover, and good food. If you’re missing any one of those three things, you won’t have animals. I maintain my ranches with wildlife being the top priority. I am trying to do the smart thing for the environment instead of the dumb thing. I want others to see what can be done with the land—even if they’re not billionaires.'”
Turner has even found a way to pay for the conservation on his land. Read the article to find out his strategy and to find out how other hunters are supporting the species they hunt and their wildlife habitats.
To find out more on how stewardship can enhance the wildlife life habitat (and thus the hunting opportunity) on your land, click here.
Photo: Upland bird habitat enhancement performed at Three Creeks Ranch, a ranch for sale in Buffalo, Wyoming.