hunters as conservationists | US Fish and Wildlife Service

Hunters are among the most ardent conservationists out there.

Theodore Roosevelt, the founder of the National Wildlife Refuge System and a hunter, knew this.

“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist when they are kept by sportsmen,” the 26th president of the United States said years ago. “The excellent people who protest against all hunting and regard sportsmen as enemies of wildlife ignore the fact that, in reality, the true sportsman is, in all probability, the most important factor in preventing the total extermination of wildlife. largest and most valuable wild creatures. ”

Officials at the Department of the Interior know this today.

“Hunters are a driving force behind the funding of many of our nation’s conservation efforts,” said a 2017 Department of the Interior blog. “After the extinction of the homing pigeon and the near elimination of the bison and many migratory bird species in the early 20th century, Americans became aware of the impacts that humans could have on wildlife. To ensure there were animals to hunt in the future, hunters began supporting programs that helped maintain species populations and protected habitat for wildlife.”

Hunters, along with fishermen, were also the driving force behind the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, a set of wildlife management principles established more than a century ago that declares that wildlife belongs everyone, not just the rich and privileged.

Directly supporting conservation today

Today, hunters directly support wildlife conservation in many ways.

Through the federal Duck Stamp, hunters help protect and restore habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds and wildlife. The seal, formally called the Federal Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Seal, is required as a license to hunt waterfowl. For every dollar spent on Duck Stamps, ninety-eight cents goes directly to the purchase of vital habitat or the acquisition of conservation easements within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, nearly 6 million acres of habitat have been conserved with the help of Duck Stamp funds.

Through the federal Wildlife Restoration Assistance Act, more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, hunters fund a variety of conservation programs. The law directs revenue from a special tax on firearms, ammunition, and other related equipment to state wildlife agencies to be used for wildlife conservation projects, hunter education, and outdoor recreational access. Through Pittman-Robertson, athletes have contributed more than $14 billion to conservation since 1937. These annual payments to state fish and wildlife agencies have resulted in the recovery of deer, turkey, and many non-game species. , with benefits for hunters and not. -hunters alike.

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