It’s rare that you will hear someone talk about how hunters help wildlife. After all, many people hold the common belief that hunters are detrimental to wildlife. Aside from the debate whether hunting is ethical or unethical, environmental activists are quick to peg wildlife destruction and crisis on hunters. But, the truth is hunters make up a large sum of wildlife conservation contribution. If you don’t believe me, continue below to learn about how hunters are helping wildlife to thrive.
In the early 1900s, wildlife species population was rapidly declining. Some species, were close to disappearing. In an effort to continue the support of hunters, while benefiting wildlife, some of the most reputable firearms companies argued that the excise tax on hunting gear, such as guns and ammo, should be redirected to wildlife conservation funds. This was made possible in 1937 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress passed the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. Since the act was create, the immense amount of revenue has enabled the government and organizations to purchase an immense amount of land solely used for the conservation of wildlife. Species who are hunted, and those who are not, flourish on this land. But, how many people know that this land was purchased by money from hunters?
So, how does the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act work? The process is simple! Whenever someone purchases a gun and ammunition, regardless if they are a hunter or a target shooter, the manufacturer of the product has to pay an excise tax on the purchase. Instead of using the excise tax towards roads or other resources, it goes to wildlife agencies. Then, the funds are utilized by these agencies to purchase and manage land to create a healthier environment for wildlife.
Where Does the Money Go?
Currently, this process has created over $10 billion to wildlife conservation. Other than purchasing and maintaining land for wildlife use, this money has been used for wildlife research and educational programs about wildlife and general hunter safety. The money profited from this process has also been used to build and maintain shooting ranges for the public. This creates a maximum amount of safety and balance for hunters and wildlife.
Animal Population Comparison
So, it is evident that the act has contributed to an enormous revenue for wildlife conservation, but what about the impact it has had on animal population? Well, it’s safe to say that the species that were endangered in the early 1900s are now boasting. To give you an idea, the population of white tailed deer was only 500,000 in 1990. But, it is approximately 32,000,000 today. And the white tailed deer aren’t the only species that have grown immensely. Other species include; ducks, rocky mountain elk, wild turkeys, and pronghorn antelope.
The numbers alone should be enough to convince you that the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act has enabled hunters to become one of the largest groups of contributors for maintaining and preserving wildlife. But, if statistics and data aren’t enough, maybe learning that renowned businessmen and politicians, who are environmentalists and wildlife activists, have hunted under the act. Worldly heroes such as, Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Key Pittman, and Willis Robertson, were all hunters, but wildlife activists who knew that this conservation model was successful and would continue to be successful for many years to come.