A decline in hunting in the US is starting to effecting our endangered animal populations. What many conservationists have been saying for years is finally starting to bear fruit, hunters fund the management of land and resources used to keep animal populations healthy. It’s not just the endangered species that are feeling the pinch but any animal dealing with the encroachment of civilization.
A Quiet Crisis
Through the donation of money and time to wildlife groups help fund the management of our lands and the preservation of historic migration routes, this money is also used to prevent the spread for diseases like CWD that can wipe out mass populations of big game animals. Although most of use get disgruntle with the rising prices of hunting licenses, tags and other fees they are a vital income used for management. Since the 80’s a downward trend has become clear, from 1980 to 2019 we have lost over 2 million hunters and will according to a 2016 survey we are seeing a steeper decline down to a little over 11 million Americans soon, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Some states have been hit hard already with losses up to 50% of their yearly revenue.
With a decline in hunting licenses, tags, and permits, states have had to layoff wardens, limit patrols and cancel land conservation projects. Some states have even been forced to dip into general tax coffers to keep programs running but crippled. Other programs have been left extremely underfunded like protecting pollinating insects which are vital to the ecosystems.
Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2019
A new funding plan and recruitment of hunters has been made with two bipartisan bills in an effort to curb the losses and get moneyflowing back to wildlife management. One bill is H.R.3742 – Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2019, it adds a $1.4 trillion package including increases for conservation and wildlife management programs. Funding for several natural resource agencies would see an increase over FY 2019.
People are losing interest in hunting.
This problem is only going to get worse with baby boomers reaching an age were they can no longer hunt and the younger generations loosing interest in hunting and wildlife conservation. Some states have started school programs to encourage children to take an interest in Hunting and wildlife conservation.
A great example is Idaho’s Hagerman High school were students have an elective called AAFS the academy of agriculture and food since, students learn about the preparation of wild game, the nutritional value, and the conservation of wild game. Make sure to join your local wildlife conservation chapters and do your part to help our wildlife, just being a hunter is not enough anymore.