“Ninety-four percent of total funding for wildlife conservation and management comes from the non-hunting public.” ~ Wildlife Conservation and Management in the U.S., October 2014
Seven months of trapping is under way. Packs of dogs are running down wolves, coyotes and other woodland creatures. Thrill killing and animal cruelty are promoted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The myth sold to the majority, the non-hunting public, is that hunters pay for “conservation” and therefore they have a right to the only say in divvying up wildlife for their take.
It is not true.
Who really pays for wildlife and land conservation? A new study, issued by Nevadans for Responsible Wildlife Management, did a thorough review of taxes levied by the Pittman-Robertson and the Dingell-Johnson acts on sales of sporting equipment, and the budgets of various conservation, wildlife advocacy and nonprofit groups. The study concludes, “Approximately 95 percent of federal, 88 percent of nonprofit, and 94 percent of total funding for wildlife conservation and management come from the non-hunting public.” When the value of federal land programs are put into the mix of wildlife conservation today, hunters’ contributions diminish to 6 percent of funding nationwide.
Our taxpayer money goes through eight large federally funded wildlife programs, contributing $18.7 billion annually to wildlife, land management and related programs. Those agencies include the U.S. Forest Service at $9.7 billion, the National Park Service at $3.6 billion, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at $2.8 billion and the BLM at $1.2 billion.
The study concluded that only 5 percent of those agencies’ operating budgets and land acquisition costs are funded by hunters or related activities, according to a Nov. 18 article about the study, "Non-hunters contribute most to wildlife, by Angus M. Thuermer Jr. in WyoFile. A similar ratio occurs in the private sector among conservation nonprofits.
“The basis (the North American Model) of public debate is a myth,” Thuermer reports the study as concluding.
“The issue of wildlife — who pays for that (and) whether the non-consumptive user should have a say — this is a body of concern that’s really relatively new … in the last 10 years,” Donald Molde, co-author of the study and former board member of Defenders of Wildlife, told Thuermer.
Professor Thomas Serfass, Frostburg State University, Maryland, chairman of their department of natural resources and biology, told Thuermer: “I would describe the North American Model as incomplete.”
Hunter control depends on it being incomplete. One of the huge elements missing is contributions of federal land management agencies. “Setting land aside in the public domain in perpetuity is probably the most substantive thing we do for wildlife conservation," says the professor.
Thuermer quotes study co-author Molde as saying, “What about this public lands argument. Holy Toledo, that’s a huge subsidy to hunters.”
We, the 94 percent non-hunter public, pay for the lands and services, but are told that hunters have all the rights to destroy our wildlife. We pay — they have the only say. Seems fair to them.
The study's authors begin: “With increased awareness and interest of the general (non-consumptive) public in controversial wildlife management issues such as fur trapping, predator control, trophy hunting, coyote killing contests and wolf reintroduction, a debate is before us as to whether the general public is or should be afforded a proper voice in wildlife management decisions.
“Sportsmen favor the current system, which places a heavy emphasis on their interests through favorable composition of wildlife commissions and a continued emphasis on ungulate management. Non-human predators (wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, ravens and others) are disfavored by wildlife managers at all levels as competition for sportsmen and are treated as second-class citizens of the animal kingdom. Sportsmen suggest this bias is justified because ‘sportsmen pay for wildlife,’ a refrain heard repeatedly when these matters are discussed. Agency personnel and policy foster this belief as well.”
It is a lie. The result of this lie is a world violently robbed of natural life-giving balance. We can no longer afford to subsidize this suffering and killing.
Analyzing nonprofit conservation organizations and their contribution of $2.5 billion annually, “12.3 percent comes from hunters and 87.7 percent from the non-hunting public. … The Nature Conservancy tops the list at $859 million annually, followed by land trusts, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund and Ducks Unlimited, the latter at $147 million. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was last of the top 10 at $54 million,” Thuermer reports in his article about the study.
State game agencies exist simply to provide for hunter opportunity, Molde told Theurmer.
What would happen if the DNR went broke and could no longer self-fund its killing business?
Wildlife would thrive. Balance would be restored. A million song-birds annually would not die of lead shot left by hunters. Beavers would restore habitat for half the rare and endangered species. Wolves would strengthen the deer herds, curtailing CWD. Coyotes, foxes and bobcats would buffer the explosion of field mice that make Wisconsin a hotbed of lyme disease. Humane wildlife watchers would be engaged in getting acquainted with wildlife, no longer afraid of white male domination and violence. That is just for starters.
We the disenfranchised can claim our rights to help our wildlife. We pay for them.
Seems fair to me.
You can sign the petition: Tell Wisconsin that hunting wolves with dogs is a form of dog fighting. Dogs are not weapons.
Please contact your senators about this packet of bills that passed the House and is headed to the Senate, to allow more hunter/trapper access, more motorized vehicles, and more cattle grazing to our public lands.