NAWCM is our heritage and our responsibility. Thanks to the men and women hunter/conservationists who plowed, seeded and nurtured this innovative system of wildlife and wildlands management, we enjoy the wildlife viewing, photography and hunting we have today. It is our responsibility to continue this work. But we can do more than just buy our licenses. We should stay abreast of wildlife issues, keep tabs on our state Fish & Game departments, confront the inaccurate claims of anti-hunting extremists and beware politicians trying to steal our conservation funding, the vast majority of which we – not the general public – “donated” for wildlife management.
Working with government wildlife agencies are dozens of private conservation organizations that push for political solutions and raise millions of dollars to directly support wildlife. These groups, funded almost solely by hunter donations and sweat equity include Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Safari Club International, Mule Deer Foundation, Wild Sheep Foundation and many more. Blaming regulated sport hunting for endangering wildlife is not only inaccurate, but ineffective. It clouds the real issues endangering wildlife.
Check the list of North American extinct species and you’ll find mostly tiny rodents, songbirds and insects, not game species. The same applies to endangered species. Of 85 mammal species/sub-species listed, 30 are obscure voles, mice, rats and shrews. Nine are bats and eight are whales. Four are subspecies of kit foxes living on islands. The few “game” species on the list are endangered only locally or as isolated subspecies. Virtually all are in trouble due to loss of habitat, i.e. Florida’s key deer, Louisiana black bears, Sonoran pronghorns in the desert of SW Arizona, etc. As for commonly, annually hunted mule deer, whitetails, elk, moose, pronghorns, coyotes, raccoons and the like, populations are thriving — because hunters care, hunters work and hunters pay to perpetuate wildlife through the NAWCM. Scientific wildlife management works.
Our Hunter/Conservationist Heritage — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com