The anti-hunter claim that hunters do not protect nongame species but instead, focus their ‘conservation’ efforts solely on species they wish to hunt is not true.
Funds generated through an 11 percent excise tax on guns, ammunition and archery supplies are, as authorized by Congress, directed specifically for conservation efforts—not hunting-only efforts.
In 2018, this tax totaled nearly $800,000 which was allocated to states and U.S. territories for conservation and recreation projects. Here are some non-game species benefitting from that funding, as directed by the Department of Interior:
• the Maui parrotbill in Hawaii
• leopard frogs in Washington
• pollinators in Iowa • Blanding’s turtles in Michigan and Ohio
• and bats in Nebraska
Hunters donate more than $440 million annually to conservation groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. More than 97 percent of RMEF’s membership is made up of hunters. RMEF’s long-time stated conservation mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
RMEF land protection and habitat stewardship projects have benefitted a countless number of non-game species including small, medium and large mammals, reptiles, birds—ranging from raptors to songbirds, insects, and fish and other water-dwelling creatures. Trees, shrubs, vegetation and grasses also benefitted, as do water sources.
State wildlife agencies are tasked with overseeing animal, bird and fish populations within their borders. Funding generated by the sale of hunting licenses and fees provides these agencies with the means to operate on a day-to-day basis.
While wildlife viewing, hiking, camping and other recreational pursuits are popular activities for many people, hunters included, they do not generate funding for wildlife conservation, game or non-game alike.
What’s the bottom line? When you take a step back and look at the big picture, it’s more than evident that Hunting Is Conservation.