Sportsmen can help their cause by educating friends, neighbors
Anyone who has attended the annual conservation spring hearings in counties that have urban cities has probably heard non-hunters use examples of hunting being responsible for dwindling species.
What these people need to hear, and all hunters should be armed with these facts, is that sport hunting has led to increases in many wildlife species.
Where there have been problems was in the late 1800s, prior to the modern conservation movement, when market hunting led to the demise of species such as the passenger pigeon, and was responsible for decreases in bison, elk, plumed birds, deer, turkey and waterfowl.
Back then wildlife meant “meat on the table,” not to mention that as human populations increased people cut down woodlands to build houses and factories, and plowed prairies and wetlands for agriculture.
But hunters became concerned and people such as Teddy Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell formed organizations such as the Boone and Crockett Club to advocate for wildlife protection.
The early 1900s was the birth of sport or recreational hunting and the end of market hunting. People need to know this!
Hunters, such as Ding Darling, pushed for protection of nesting birds, lowered bag limits, adding fees that hunters pay to fund wildlife management and most important, habitat protection.
They backed laws such as the Lacey Act in 1900 prohibiting shipment of illegally harvested wildlife across state lines, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918 protecting migratory birds, and Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Act of 1937 providing funds for wildlife management.
As a result the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation has been responsible for bringing back numerous species.
Hunters should become familiar with the facts. Look for the Wildlife Management Institute’s publication “Placing Hunting in Perspective,” (https://www.wildlifemanagementinstitute.org/store/product.php?productid=16166&cat=253&page=2 ) to have facts to tell your non-hunting friends.
Regulated recreational hunting and hunters are wildlife’s best friends. Know the differences between what market hunting did and what sport hunting has done!