by Eric Hill
With all the focus today on "Going Green" it's great to reflect on the role outdoorsmen have played in sustaining "renewable resources". In fact, outdoorsmen were likely the first group to not only understand, but practice, sustaining renewable resources. Many of us are familiar with the plight of the American Buffalo and the role "market hunters" played in almost eliminating the species. When we finally woke up to the fact that continued practices would lead to their extinction, better minds prevailed.
The Whitetail deer was headed in the same direction, as were many species of migratory birds and other marketable animals. It was the efforts of sportsmen that resulted in legislation that created the Pittman-Robertson Act in 1937, which provided for wildlife restoration throughout the country. Sportsmen fund the cost of this restoration with a federal tax on sporting goods directly related to hunting and fishing.
Outdoorsmen contribute millions of dollars each year that not only benefit sportsmen, but every citizen who enjoy the out of doors. The purchase of hunting and fishing licenses fund each state's efforts to manage wildlife and its habitat. Hunters and fishers also contribute to state wildlife agencies by providing information about wildlife harvested during seasons. This helps provide each state with critical information which in turn helps states manage and sustain wildlife populations.
Other contributions made by outdoorsmen include:
1. The creation of wildlife habitat through contributions and volunteer efforts made by members of such organizations at Ducks Unlimited, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wildlife Forever, Quail Unlimited and many more.
2. Many outdoorsmen are land owners who, while managing their own timberlands, create ideal habitats that help sustain native species.
3. Outdoorsmen are quick to volunteer to organizations who work to keep forests and waterways clean from trash and other debris.
4. Outdoorsmen plant food plots and manage habitat to provide food during critical periods of the year for wildlife.
5. Outdoorsmen work to clean up waterways and lakes and assist to keep invasive species of fish and plants from them.
There is likely no other group which better understands the commitment it takes to sustain our great outdoor resources. You will not find outdoorsmen blowing their own horns about their contributions and efforts. We contribute without the need to be recognized.
So, going green does not mean putting on the camo and heading to the woods, but rather our continuing efforts to keep our resources at sustainable levels through our commitment to all wildlife. Next time you hear someone talking about "going green" remember the contributions you make to this effort.