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Conservation Benefits of Hunting


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Many anti-hunters and those who frown upon hunting fail to realize that much of the early legislation that was the foundation for conservation and preservation in the United States was thanks to hunters themselves. Sport hunting was a major movement in nature preservation that benefitted exactly what many anti-hunters would advocate for, but never implemented.1  Anti-hunters want to ban hunting and place more regulations, but completely overlook the fact that hunters help regulations occur in order to keep their sport alive and preserve the nature they love and respect.2  The main reasoning behind hunters wanting to preserve nature was to preserve their sport and keep the moral values behind their sport alive.3  Granted, it is admitted that this culture of hunting with respect for nature has changed over the past couple of decades4 and that now many more anti-hunters are doing more to save wildlife,5 but hunters were a very important foundation to much of the legislation for saving wildlife that conservationists against hunting would be elated over.  The current hunting system is largely responsible for habitat protection and created many wildlife refuge and conservation programs.  Hunting organizations have also funded just over a billion total acres of land for wildlife conservation.6  Hunting created a foundation for conservation many years ago and continues to contribute to wildlife habitat conservation today, as well as managing animal populations.

Students from Bucknell University’s Environmental Residential College did a mini-documentary on local hunting conservation, which accurately depicts how hunting positively affects Lewisburg and surrounding areas. **This video can only be viewed by students/faculty/staff of Bucknell University**

Bucknell University Environmental Residential College Students on Hunting for Conservation

Economic Benefits of Hunting


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There are several countries, especially in Europe, that charge major hunting fees.  These high prices paid by nobility as well as purchases from equipment needed to hunt trickle back into society and public projects to help boost the country’s economy.  Hunting was estimated to be worth about $16 billion to Europe in 2008.7  In America, hunters also create large economic growth, but through larger number of hunters purchasing hunting equipment and creating jobs rather than the fees that wealthy Europeans are faced with (although Americans still pay fees for hunting licenses).  The creation of jobs from the “manufacturing, sale, or provision of hunting and outdoor products and services” has largely boosted the American economy.8  The economic benefit of hunting seems to be continuing to grow seeing as hunters’ expenditures have grown 55% since 2006.9  While this may not be the most ideal situation for the future of hunting or conservancy matters, advances in hunting are helping to boost the economy.  Even though American hunting sometimes gets a reputation for being for poorer, rural communities, these populations are contributing a significant amount of economic activity because of how popular hunting is amongst these communities, especially in the rural south.  The economic benefits of hunting for America due to jobs created, licenses issued, and purchases made are an important consideration when looking at the benefits of hunting.

Organizations Advocating for Hunting

**As you can see, there are several groups who advocate for hunting that are primarily concerned with conservation and biodiversity, as well as some religiously affiliated groups.

  • Archery Shooters Association
  • Buckmasters
  • Christian Sportsmen’s Society
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Foundation for North American Wild Sheep
  • Hunting & Shooting Sports Heritage Fund
  • International Archery Federation
  • International Bowhunting Organization
  • Mule Deer Foundation
  • National Archery Association
  • National Hunters Association
  • National Rifle Association
  • National Shooting Sports Foundation
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • North American Bowhunters
  • Pheasants Forever
  • Professional Bowhunters Society
  • Quail Unlimited
  • Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Safari Club International
  • The Ruffed Grouse Society
  • U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
  • Whitetails Unlimited
  • Alaska Wildlife Alliance (AWA)
  • American Forests
  • American Humane Association
  • The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Biodiversity Conservation Alliance
  • The Center for Biological Diversity
  • The Delta Waterfowl Foundation
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Izaak Walton League of America
  • National Audubon Soceity (NAS)
  • National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)
  • National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
  • National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA)
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF)
  • Sierra Club
  • Western Watersheds Project (WWP)
  • WildEarth Guardians
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Wildlife Forever
  • Wildlife Management Institute (WMI)
  • The Wildlife Society (TWS)
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Show 9 footnotes

  1. “Until well into the twentieth century, hunters were the largest organization group working to save wildlife, and their efforts and money provided the chief support for the nation’s wildlife programs”. –Thomas Dunlap, “Sport Hunting and Conservation, 1880-1920,” in Environmental History Review (, 2014), 51.
  2. “The legal and institutional framework of wildlife protection in the United States, formed between 1880 and 1920, is the legacy of sport hunters … those who hunted and fished for pleasure rather than commerce or necessity, were the real spearhead of conservation, it was they not foresters and water managers, who originated conservation and began the first conservation projects. … hunting was the fountainhead of nature appreciation”. — Ibid., 51-52.
  3. “When the vast herds of buffalo vanished with appalling suddenness in the early 1880s, the crisis was apparent to all: if hunting was to be anything more than a few rich people shooting game raised on their estates, sportsmen had to convert the majority of their fellows and get them to support a program of government enforced game preservation”. — Ibid., 53.
  4. “He writes as a member of an embattled and despised minority … hunting is now socially unacceptable to many [and is only popular in poorer, rural areas” … “What we lost is the attraction to the hunt, to the ritual of pursuit, … and the mastery of nature that hunting implied. We no longer see the virtues of the pioneers, at least in this form, as an essential part of the nation’s culture”. — Ibid., 58.
  5. “well into the twentieth century, hunters were the largest organization group working to save wildlife” … this shows that this hunting with respect has dissipated, but is still a strong part of historical context of hunting and it’s juxtaposition to anti-hunting. — Ibid., 51.
  6. “The Conservation Benefits of Hunting.” September1, 2009. Accessed December 12, 2014.
  7. Pelletier, Rue. “Economics.” FACE: The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation. January 1, 2008. Accessed December 12, 2014.
  8. Allen, Tom. “Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation.” January 1, 2013. Accessed December 12, 2014.
  9. Ibid.

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