How many years have you been hunting, fishing, or maybe just enjoyed being outdoors and observing wildlife? For me it has been a lifetime, as I suspect it has been for many folks reading this. Most outdoorsmen/women would fall into the conservationist category rather than preservationist. Meaning that if you use the resource in a wise manner, you are a conservationist.
As such we have an obligation to follow game laws, conserve habitat, contribute to enhancements that give back to wildlife and wild places.
Not since the days of market hunting and the non-existence of game laws have, we seen such a threat to wildlife and wild places as we see today, and not just nationally but globally.
This is not to say that natural resource conservation efforts through state game and fish agencies, federal agencies, and private efforts have not had major success stories when it comes to conservation efforts, because they have. All across the globe there are huge efforts underway at conserving wild places and all species of wildlife living within those places.
Today, I believe these efforts are more critical than ever. As sportsmen and sportswomen, we should all look for ways to give back that hopefully improve wildlife conservation and populations for generations to come. Knowing the threat wild places and its inhabitants are facing today, we must stay involved and find ways to support wildlife conservation measures where we can.
Outlined below are just a smattering of the many organizations that I have been personally involved with and firmly believe do good work when it comes to wildlife conservation efforts. Projects by these groups are a benefit to all wildlife, not just “game animals”.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Founded in 1984, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) is a conservation and pro-hunting organization, founded in the United States in 1984 by four hunters from Troy, Montana (Bob Munson, Bill Munson, Dan Bull and Charlie Decker). Its mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and American hunting heritage.
Since 1984, the RMEF helped to conserve more than 6.7 million acres (26,700 km²) of habitat. RMEF also helped to restore long-absent elk populations, with herds being reestablished in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ontario, Tennessee, Missouri, Virginia, and Wisconsin. RMEF strives to be a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management, and conservation policy issues.
Safari Club International
Founded in 1972, Safari Club International (SCI) is a US organization composed of hunters dedicated to protecting the freedom to hunt. SCI has more than 50,000 members and 180 local chapters.
SCI members agree to abide by the organization’s code of ethics, which includes making a positive contribution to wildlife and ecosystems, complying with game laws, and assisting game and fish officers. Much of SCI’s efforts take place not only within the US, but also internationally.
Founded in 1937, Ducks Unlimited (DU) has conserved at least 12.5 million acres of waterfowl habitat in North America.
DU partners with a wide range of corporations, governments, other non-governmental organizations, landowners, and private citizens to restore and manage areas that have been degraded and to prevent further degradation of existing wetlands.
DU is also active in working with others to recommend government policies that will influence wetlands and the environment. DU generated more than $235 million in revenues during their 2012 fiscal year; a minimum of 80 percent of that revenue goes directly toward habitat conservation.
Their sources of revenue include federal and state habitat reimbursements, conservation easements, sponsors, members, major gifts, donations, royalties, and advertisement.
These are just a few of countless conservation organizations that I have personally worked with over the years and that work towards habitat projects necessary for all wild creatures to survive.
As outdoors enthusiasts we all need to be willing to take an extra step or two to give back to that which has given so much to us. Those wild places we go to enjoy the pursuit of game and fish or just to hike a trail are in reality critical to our own existence.
Get involved and stay involved with one or more of these conservation groups not just for yourself and wildlife, but for the generations to come.
Next, read up on a recent oryx hunt I went on in New Mexico.