- How Deer Hunting Helps the Environment | Funding, Education, Population Control & More
How Deer Hunting Helps the Environment | Funding, Education, Population Control & More
By: Dylan Hayward
Whenever I bring up how beneficial hunting is for the environment and the significant ways it contributes to conservation, people always seem to react confused or even doubtful.
I’ll admit, at face value it does seem like a slight contradiction, however, it is absolutely true. When looking at the biggest contributors to wildlife and environmental conservation, no group makes a greater impact than hunters.
Whether it be through the purchasing of licenses and tags, which that revenue goes towards our national forests and parks, or through the act of hunting itself which has a massive positive impact on wildlife numbers as a whole.
Without deer hunting, or really any hunting for that matter, there would be a dramatic imbalance of animal populations, which would cause a slow but absolute destruction of wildlife habitat as a whole.
My grandfather once told me when I was growing up, “We only harvest the excess.” and I always thought that was a great point.
When we hunt ethically and with conservation as our main focus, we are bringing balance to wildlife, by harvesting what would be considered a population excess. In fact, according to a 2020 study, even as hunting license sales are increasing year by year, so is the whitetail deer population, proving that the harvesting of deer is not destroying the population, but actually building it up.
If you happen to know a farmer, you know that one of his biggest concerns is crop yield being affected by grazing animals.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) did a study and the results found that whitetail deer were responsible for 58% of crop yield losses through grazing.
To put that in monetary terms, that is roughly $500 million in crop loss.
Deer hunting can help mitigate the damage being done on crops, which as a result will have a massive impact on land health as well as the agriculture industry as a whole, which we all benefit from.
Other Forms of Wildlife
Not only does deer hunting have a positive impact on the whitetail population, but it actually benefits the rest of wildlife as well.
The money generated from hunting licenses and whitetail deer tags has funded countless conservation projects that have saved species on the edge of extinction.
A great example would be the North American turkey. In the 1930’s, the wild turkey population in North America hit a record low of less than 30,000, and turkey’s only inhabited 18 of the 50 states. Through hunter contributions and advocacy, the Pittman-Robertson Act was passed, and it is now regarded as one of the greatest conservation stories of all time, with the population currently at around 7 million.
Another great example would be the comeback success of elk in North America. In the early 1900s, the population of elk was down to about 40,000 in North America. Through funding contributions largely by hunters, the elk population is now hovering around 1 million.
There are numerous anti-hunting groups that will boast about their donations and advocacy for wildlife conservation, but the fact remains that no other group contributes financially to the cause more than hunters.
Deer hunting plays a massive role in protecting our environment and all of our natural resources.
Whether that be through funding, education, population control and more.
But regardless of those factors, hunting provides more than just that. Hunting is something that is foundational to who we are as humans. The instinct to hunt and to consume wild game is embedded into all of our DNA, whether people want to admit it or not.
Hunting is more than just a hobby, it’s who we are and it tells the stories of our ancestors before us. Hunting is and always will be conservation, not only for conserving our environment, but also for conserving what it means to be human.