As you have probably noticed, we heavily promote the idea that hunting is conservation. It seems, to me, to be a concept beyond question. Somewhat surprisingly, there are some within the ranks of hunters, and many from the ranks of anti-hunting ideologues, who dispute the assertion.
Similarly, we believe that hunters are conservationists. Again, that seems pretty obvious, but it is not universally accepted.
Let’s examine the basis for our claims, and let’s begin with the first assertion. Why is hunting, and by that we mean well-regulated sustainable hunting, “conservation?” Well-regulated hunting requires proper habitat and appropriate game populations. Hunting supports both. Hunters’ dollars–whether from personal investment in ranches and leases, hunting license fees, Pittman Robertson excise taxes raised from the sale of outdoor equipment, payments to hunting operators, or donations to organizations like DSC Foundation–are the funding fuel for conservation. No one can argue otherwise, at least not rationally.
Hunting is a tool to regulate wildlife populations. Hunting protects wilderness, and, unfortunately often overlooked, all of the biodiversity in the wilderness – not just game animals. If you create wetlands for ducks and geese, you create wetlands for songbirds, mammals, reptiles, fish, predators and prey of all shapes and sizes – all flora and fauna.
Are hunters conservationists? Of course they are, even if they don’t realize it or accept the mantle. They practice conservation: they conserve and often enhance habitat, they regulate populations, they fight poaching. They advocate for sound wildlife policy and law, and they fight like hell against agenda-driven policy masquerading as animal welfare.
Hunters who engage in well-regulated sustainable hunting have a love and appreciation for wildlife and wilderness that few others will ever know. They, through their hunting experiences, see firsthand the inter-relationship between manmade factors and conditions–population growth, pollution, habitat degradation, poaching, human-wildlife conflict–that keyboard warriors could not possibly comprehend at the same level.
Hunters also financially support conservation. You do that through your donations to DSC Foundation and your auction purchases at DSC events, which brings me to my final point. Is DSC Foundation a conservation organization? Damn right we are – we are a hunting conservation organization. We support conservation founded in well-regulated hunting and sustainable use around the world. We are hunter/conservationists. Carry that title with pride, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Please support our ongoing efforts to practice conservation through hunting with a donation to DSC Foundation. You can make a donation through our website, www.dscf.org, or by mailing us a check.
Good hunting to all,
DSC Foundation Executive Director