A few years ago, my Dad and I hunted property I leased for deer hunting. Dad said he was sitting in the stand and watched a doe walk into some high grass and bed down. He just watched her. Then he told me something that shocked me. He said that was the first deer he had ever seen wild in the woods. I knew as a boy he hunted and fished back in the 1940s when he grew up, so why had he not seen a deer? It was because unregulated commercial hunting had almost wiped out all deer in Georgia. The few deer left in Georgia were around the Georgia coast and 13 deer Forest Ranger Arthur Woody bought with his own funds and turned loose in the mountains. Now we see deer everywhere, almost to the point of being a nuisance. What happened?
In 1937, sportsmen, hunters and fishermen lobbied Congress to pass the Pittman-Robertson Act, which authorized tax be collected from the sale of firearms and ammunition. These funds were sent to state fish and game agencies for projects related to wildlife and made it possible to purchase and lease land for wildlife conservation. It also boosted state fish and game agencies’ available funds for game wardens and wildlife biologists. Since the Pittman-Robertson Act passage, over $10.1 billion has been collected and awarded to state fish and game agencies. That is more money than all other conservationist groups and animal rights groups combined. Now fishing and archery equipment are taxed to supply additional needed funds.
Groups like PETA and WWF use their donations to fund advertising campaigns and lobbyists and almost none of the millions they collect ever actually helps wildlife. Unfortunately when you sign up for a monthly donation to these groups all your money is being used to do is make slick ads like the one that enticed you to donate. If you are really serious about helping wildlife conservation efforts, buy a hunting and fishing license and your money will actually be use to benefit wildlife and not some Hollywood advertising agency.
Years ago, animal rights activism turned the word “sportsman” into a bad connotation that sportsmen did not deserve. Today we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is sportsmen and women who are the true conservationists and there are 10.1 billion reasons why that is true.