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The Wildlife Lefties and Killing the Golden Goose

Without recreational hunting efforts to save wildlife will only endanger wildlife

Bob Rogers

The Grimmest of fairy tales, promoted by wildlife protectionist groups, may find comfort in the downturn of sport hunting in America. There was a time when the great social debate was focused on a campaign to outlaw hunting. Defenders of Wildlife, PETA and other fellow travelers have rested while the outdoor news of the day focused on guns, or what they preferred to call “gun violence.”

For some time now, guns have been the target of the “anti” groups.  Thanks to mindless shooters who have metastasized gun ownership into killing tools in schools, churches and workplaces, there is more rhetoric spent on controlling guns than controlling hunting and anti-hunting groups are fine with letting anti-gun groups take the media spotlight. But there is a price to pay for everything and anything. One just has to be willing to step aside and watch the dancing begin.

Among today’s top news stories is one shining a beam of light on the decline of hunters in America, from about 17 million of us in the early 80s to as little as 11 million by 2016, and still falling. That’s, of course, good news for the anti-gun crowd and even moreso for the anti-hunting groupies. Both factions fail to realize that as fewer American take up hunting, there are fewer dollars to be spent on preserving and/or even restoring wildlife habitat.  Each purchase of a hunting license provides fiscal resources for state wildlife managers, aka “fish and game” agencies whose personnel are responsible for, among other duties, enforcing game laws, negotiating with farmers, ranchers and other owners of land mass multiple use that cater not just to growing food for humans but browse for wildlife, as well.

On top of that, federal funding via Pittman-Robertson (aka The 1937 Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act) allow states to use their P-R funds to restore, manage, and enhance wild birds and mammals and their habitat. P-R projects also include providing public access to wildlife resources, hunter education, and development and management of shooting ranges. This gift doesn’t come direct from the federal treasury, nee federal taxes. The P-R Act charges an 11% tax on the purchase of firearms, ammunition, or archery equipment. Hunters played an important role in getting this law passed, and the money raised goes directly to wildlife conservation and Hunter Education.

We understand that the anti groups don’t care where the money comes from as long as it keeps coming from somewhere. But that could include the federal government which provides input from those groups in such decision-making efforts as the Endangered Species Act and allows donations from grant groups to fund some organizations as tax return writeoffs.

The point is that, as society continues to morph from one activity to another – such as from recreational hunting to social media recreation – America will continue to lose its grasp on young hunters and, thus, to eventual funding of the wildlife they want to preserve.

Geese, golden or otherwise, are vulnerable to extinction as their habitat dries up economically and is converted to other uses which limits or eliminates the lands on which people both watch wildlife as well as hunt it for food and recreation. To kill that goose now will only results in no geese to kill – or to visibly enjoy – later.

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