United States of Hunt/Fish
In the United States and countries around the world, hunters and anglers are being villainized as a heartless, bloodthirsty band of heathens who kill for sport and don’t care one bit about our natural resources — be it fish, wildlife, habitat — or our planet.
Truth be told, as sportsmen and women, we don’t do ourselves any favors when we popularize stupidity and a win-at-all-costs attitude on social media, don’t call out and correct baseless claims about our way of life, and take a “not my problem” stance when it comes to issues outside of our individual back yards.
Tackling the first two on a single-issue basis may be about as productive as pissing up a rope. But not doing something about the “not my problem” perspective that pervades our community — that’s like pissing on our own boots.
This isn’t some big campfire kumbaya we’re talking about. Giving a damn has tangible economic, conservation, and rights-based values.
If you’re not familiar with the Pittman-Robertson Act (AKA Wilderness Recovery Act) or the Dingell-Johnson Act (AKA Sportfish Recovery Act), you need to be.
Pittman-Robertson was signed into law in 1937. It directed manufacturers and importers of firearms and ammunition to pay excise taxes on their sales, which would then be sent back to the states to pay for wildlife management and habitat protection. In the 1970’s, pistols and archery equipment were added to the list as well.
Dingell-Johnson, modeled after P-R, was passed in 1950 and earmarked taxes on fishing equipment for “restoration and management of all species of fish which have material value in connection with sport or recreation in the marine and/or fresh waters of the United States.”
Over $15 billion has gone to wildlife restoration programs since Pittman-Robertson became law, with another $10.5 billion to sportfish restoration through Dingell-Johnson. In 2022 alone, a combined $1.5 billion was put back into fish and wildlife conservation efforts nationwide.
When you buy your hunting or fishing gear, you help build this fund. If you travel to hunt or fish, your license fees, along with any gear you buy at your destination, go toward funding conservation.
Even if you only hunt or fish in your home state, anyone who travels to your state to hunt or fish contributes to the conservation efforts in your backyard. Resident and non-resident dollars play a huge role in the health of your fish, wildlife, habitat, and economy, no matter where you call home.
Likewise, there are tens of thousands of people across the country whose livelihoods depend on the fish and game that residents and non-residents head to the woods and water to find. Guides and outfitters, tackle and gun shop owners, and a litany of other ancillary local businesses would suffer—or shutter—without that business.
Remember, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is based on all of North America working together to uphold its seven principles, not just each state looking out for its own.
This model should be the single brightest beacon for every sportsman and woman in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the 20 other countries within North America’s 9.5 million square miles. We are a formidable community.
Unfortunately, that beacon doesn’t seem to draw as much consolidated attention and effort as anti-hunting and animal rights groups.
Anti-hunting efforts know no borders. They’re infiltrating our state game commissions and management decisions. They’re pushing for legislative changes. They don’t care if the issue is across the county line or across the country. If a call goes out at 6 a.m. to help save [insert literally anything], there will be a groundswell of outrage and a call for heads to roll by lunch.
It’s funny because it’s true, but it’s a playbook that hunters and anglers in every state and north and south of the border need to study.
Outrage is not a one-way street. Demanding accountability and management decisions based on science is not a fallback position. Fighting for everyone’s backyard, not just your own, is not the exception, it has to be the rule.
When you see that the spring bear season is under attack in Washington State, get involved.
When you see that the right to hunt and fish is threatened in Montana, Florida, or Oregon, get involved. Building this foundation of a right to hunt & fish in more states will only make it harder and require more resources for anti-hunters to be successful. This is a strategy we all need to get behind.
When you see that black bears are overrunning Connecticut and they need a management season for the good of the public and the animals, get involved.
When you see that human rights and African wildlife management are being sacrificed to appease short-sighted anti-hunting and animal rights interests, get involved.
When you see hunting opportunities being taken away in Canada, the U.S. needs to get involved... huge numbers of hunters and anglers go to Canada to participate in their hunting and angling activities.
Because when we give a damn about what hunters and anglers in other states — and countries — are fighting to conserve and join them in the fight, that’s community.
And a strong, united community will keep our fish, wildlife, and habitat healthy and our sporting heritage alive for generations to come.
For the individual hunter
- Be a leader!
- Take the seconds or maybe a few minutes to take action
- Repost the issues with links on social media when you see them
- Do not let state borders hold you back
- If you want to be extra involved get acquainted with wildlife commission meetings, we help with that too!
- Become a member, invite your friends to become members.
For the species ORGS
- If your ORG itself is not going to take on advocacy of species outside of your orgs mission or not going to take on advocacy at all then share the actions of groups that do, such as HOWL, to your member base.
- The future of hunting is either helped by doing this or it's not helped by not doing this.
- Maximum engagement is key.
For the influencers and companies (such as retail)
- Be a leader for advocacy, lead from the front
- Share! You have a huge audience
- Make 10-20% of your posts, when applicable, advocacy posts. We must awaken the masses.