How Hunters Help Wildlife Management and Conservation
Did you know that hunting is one of the best ways of controlling the deer population and actually allowing it to thrive? It’s true! While this may be brand new information to you, controlling an animal population by well-regulated hunting isn’t a new idea by any means. Theodore Roosevelt, a President and an avid hunter, founded the National Wildlife Refuge System in 1903. During his lifetime, he was quoted saying, “In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.” We could not agree more, Mr. President!
It isn’t just Theodore Roosevelt who feels this way. Well-regulated and proper hunting plays an essential role in making sure that wildlife populations are kept at appropriate levels. It may sound contrary, but actually this is a key element of conservation. Hunting, deforestation, and the environmental changes made via new development and manufacturing cannot be ignored. Humans have a big impact on the animal world around us. After the extinction of the passenger pigeon and the near-extinction of the bison and whitetail deer in the early 1900s, humans began to realize how much of an effect they had on the wildlife around them. This led to The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
Aldo Leopold was the founding father of modern-day animal and wildlife conservation. He was a large influence in shaping what is now known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Mr. Leopold was an adamant believer in the benefits of hunting for everyone’s gain, including the animal’s. He felt strongly in favor of wildlife protection laws that should be enforced in order to eliminate illegal markets for game or the unsanctioned buying and selling of meat and fur. He also felt that the hunting of Texas whitetail deer and other wildlife should be strictly regulated and managed by the government via the usage of tags/bag limits to those who are officially licensed, and only within the appropriate hunting season. Other key elements of what he developed into the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation include the ideas that wildlife can only be hunted and killed for a legitimate purpose, and that science will guide the decisions of wildlife conservation and the amount of hunting that is allowed.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the population now, but whitetail deer were considered virtually extinct by the early 1900s. This was due to the massive amount of unregulated hunting as well as deforestation. Many deer were either getting killed by hunters or displaced by development for agricultural purposes. Now, conservation efforts like only hunting in well-regulated Texas deer trophy hunting ranches means the population is flourishing again!