The Importance of Conservation.
First, let us start with the question of what is conservation. For those new to hunting and fishing, conservation can be an unfamiliar topic. According to Oxford Languages, conservation is the prevention of wasteful use of a resource. In this case the resource would be the land and all things in it. This definition makes the land seem like merely a resource that should not be used in a wasteful manner, but this can mean many different things.
Personally I think of it as Aldo Leopold describes it, “Conservation is a state of harmony between man and land”. This puts us as humans into the mix. We are not just bystanders to the natural world, but players in the game of conservation. This concept is very familiar to hunters and anglers. It is only natural for a group of people who rely on the land for food and activity to care so much about conserving it. As hunters and anglers we take from the land through the harvest of wild game, fish, and forage. Yet, we also give back to the land through volunteering our time and money to help conserve the natural world that we love.
How do we get involved?
It can seem like a tall task to get into conservation. However, there are so many ways to get involved. Start by just thinking of the things you like to do outdoors. For example, you might like to pheasant hunt, or even just enjoy seeing pheasants in nature. Then, you can do some research on organizations that fight to preserve your right and access to participate in these activities. In this case a good organization to look at might be Pheasant Forever/Quail Forever. They are an organization that strives to conserve pheasants and quail through habitat improvement, public access, education, and conservation advocacy. This would be a great group to join and donate your time to.
Another outstanding group worth looking into is Backcountry Hunters and Anglers or BHA for short. This conservation organizations is fighting daily for our public lands and waters. They are a very active group with local state chapters and many cool events the engage hunters and anglers from across the country. One last organization that I would recommend looking into is the Rookie Mountain Elk Foundation or RMEF for short. They are a conservation organization that strives to ensure the future of elk through habitat improvement and through hunting heritage. Last but certainly not least, Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society is also a great organization. Their mission use scientific practices to develop critical habitat for ruffed grouse and American woodcock. Similarly to the others, they are a great organization doing important work.
The best thing about these four organizations is that they are supported and driven by hunters. Hunters who want to conserve wildlife so that the generations to come can enjoy the same outdoor opportunities that we do today. It doesn’t get much better than that!
The Easy Way!
Now I understand some folks are too busy or do not have the money to support a conservation organization and that is totally fine. The simplest and cheapest way to support conservation efforts is to follow the rules and regulations handed down by your state’s department of natural resources. Bag limits, hunting seasons, and the method of how you can harvest a species are included in these regulations. These regulations are based on science and help to ensure sustainable resources. Following these guidelines is the first step in your journey of conservation. Without conservation there is no future for hunting and fishing. So please, take it seriously so that hunting and fishing can continue for many generations to come.