Hunting Is Conservation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is encouraging everyone who supports hunting to take greater pride in our legacy. Hunters and anglers were among the first crusaders for conservation and we remain today’s most important conservation leaders.
Man has hunted since he walked the Earth. Every early culture relied on hunting for survival. Through hunting, man forged a connection with the land and learned quickly that stewardship of the land went hand-in-hand with maintaining wildlife – and their own way of life.
In the first half of the 20th century, leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold shaped a set of ideals that came to be known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. They articulated the philosophy that all wildlife belong to all of us. That every citizen is entitled to the opportunity to hunt and fish. And that ethical, regulated hunting is the driving force that maintains abundant wildlife.
Hunting became regulated and guided by scientific research. In 1878, Iowa instituted the first bag limit on birds. Lawmakers passed the Lacey Act in 1900, prohibiting market hunting. Ding Darling created artwork for the first Duck Stamp in 1934. The Pittman-Robertson act was passed in 1937, through which hunters voluntarily imposed a tax on themselves, ensuring that a portion of the sale of all firearms and ammunition would be expressly dedicated to managing the wildlife entrusted to the public. The Pittman-Robertson Act generates $700 million annually, which is distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to state fish and game agencies across America.
Simply put, the United States has the most successful wildlife management system in the world. Hunters and anglers have contributed more financial and physical support to that system than any other group of individuals.
RMEF members and all of you, who contribute to conservation organizations like the RMEF, are proving every day that hunters truly are the titans of conservation.