Habitat is the key to wildlife survival. Without habitat, no wildlife can survive. The main purpose of the HABITAT MANAGEMENT tool is to prevent existing habitat, that is in good condition, from being destroyed or lost. Habitat in poor condition can be improved or new habitat can be created through proper management programs. Artificial or supplemental feeding of wildlife is a poor and often dangerous practice compared to proper habitat and population management.
WHO PAYS FOR WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT?
Regulated hunting and trapping provides another key tool for wildlife managers - money. Like everything else in this world, wildlife management programs cost money. That money is provided in several ways by hunters and trappers.
A key source of money is the sale of hunting and trapping licenses. Money from the sale of the licenses is used to manage both game and nongame species.
Another source is through a special tax the federal government collects on all gun, ammunition and archery purchases. That tax came from the PITTMAN-ROBERTSON ACT, which Congress passed in 1937 to help wildlife.
Finally, there are special, management-oriented organizations that have been formed by people who like wildlife and want to help it. These groups, in turn, raise money from their members and work cooperatively with wildlife management agencies to help develop management plans and implement them.
So you can see - through special taxes on hunting tools and equipment, license fees and donations - hunters and trappers are an important tool for managing wildlife. They not only pay the bills, they are the only major source of money for management programs.
You can't help wildlife if you don't understand wildlife. That's why PUBLIC EDUCATION is so important for wildlife management to succeed. When people know about wildlife and its needs, most often they will give more support and are likely to become more involved in management programs.
How can people learn more about it? Education programs provide new, inexperienced and even experienced people with information, knowledge and skills. These programs help people to be smarter about using wildlife and better at taking care of the land.
The FUTURE OF WILDLIFE doesn't just depend on management programs. It depends mostly on people. People, whether they are hunters and trappers or not, need to learn all they can about wildlife and they need to care about whether it's managed properly. Here's what YOU CAN DO to help make a brighter future for wildlife.
Support programs to maintain or improve wildlife habitat. This includes knowing how important private lands are in providing critical habitat and recreation opportunities.
Support your state wildlife agency in its efforts to manage wildlife and people. Also, support conservation activities locally and nationally.
Realize that hunting and trapping are important management tools used to benefit wildlife populations and their habitat - and don't be afraid to tell your friends about these benefits. When people learn more about the role of hunting and trapping, most often they support these important roles. Observe the highest ethical standards while hunting. Being willing to encourage other hunters to do the same will help, too.
Be willing to contribute money and your skills to help wildlife. If we all start today, there will always be wildlife for everyone to enjoy.