HUNTING AND FISHING DAY IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
not sure who first stated the following concept: People who hunt and
fish are the nations foremost conservationists. However, I do
know that Teddy Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to strongly support
the concept, and in 1972 Richard Nixon endorsed the idea with a signed
proclamation. With the unanimous approval of Congress, Nixon designated
the fourth Saturday of September as National Hunting and Fishing Day.
Some people do not accept the idea that killing animals in a forest
or removing fish from a lake is good for wildlife. And for the individual
animal that is shot or caught, the experience is clearly not beneficial.
But heres the irony: Hunters and anglers remain among the staunchest
supporters of flourishing, thriving natural ecosystems. You cannot hunt
game or catch sport fish if you do not have wild, undeveloped lands
and clean, unpolluted waters. For the sportsperson who hunts or fishes,
healthy habitats and clean environments are vitally important for maintaining
sustainable use of game fish and animals.
of animal rights often puts hunters and sometimes even anglers at odds
with certain parts of society. Antihunting campaigns are rampant nationwide,
and the conflicts are often bitter, sometimes political, and rarely
if ever have an outcome that satisfies both sides. Somebody is going
to be unhappy no matter what the outcome. Not surprisingly, one of the
most vocal opponents of NHF Day is PETA, the uncompromising animal rights
organization. They petitioned President Obama in the first year of his
presidency when he signed the presidential proclamation designating
NHF day, the way each president, Democrat or Republican, has done since
between PETA and the hunting and fishing community will never be resolved
to everyones satisfaction. PETA and other animal rights activists
have various reasons for launching antihunting campaigns that are directed
toward particular species or areas, but they cannot assert that hunting
is bad for the environment. Because hunters and anglers want to be assured
that their target species are still around in the future, they support
protection of natural habitats.
that fish and wildlife populations are sustainable from one generation
to the next, a diversity of natural habitats must be kept intact, unpolluted,
and undisturbed. Hunters and anglers support these efforts with their
attitudes about natural habitats and with their pocketbooks. Federal
excise taxes on hunting equipment contribute directly to the support
of land purchases, habitat protection, and wildlife management programs.
Likewise, anglers throughout the country contribute significant amounts
to public and private environmental protection enterprises by buying
fishing licenses and equipment.
to the latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services National Survey
of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, hunters,
anglers and wildlife watchers spent $145.0 billion on wildlife-related
recreation in 2011. Thats a highly significant contribution
toward environmental protection, although it should be noted that the
survey includes other wildlife-related recreation besides hunting and
fishing. According to USFWS these other outdoor pursuits include wildlife-watching
activities such as observing, feeding and photographing wildlife.
Nonetheless, the hunting community, although a small proportion of the
national population and getting smaller every decade, continues to have
a major impact on environmental protection and preservation. Hunting
revenues are substantial.
preservation is critical for all wildlife, not just game species. The
major threat to most natural ecosystems and wildlife species today is
habitat degradation and destruction. Irresponsible commercial development
is a leading culprit when natural habitats are destroyed, then replaced
with artificial ones where most native wildlife do poorly. In many states,
hunting clubs preserve more natural habitat than most environmental
organizations. The focus of such clubs may be on managing selected game
species, but nongame wildlife also benefit. Some hunting clubs are exemplary
models of private land ownership helping to preserve natural habitats.
So on Saturday,
September 27, 2014, National Hunting and Fishing Day, if you know someone
who hunts or fishes, take a moment to say thanks for helping keep America
you have an environmental question or comment, email