Nature and Hunting: How Hunting Helps the Environment

Hunters often get a bad reputation when it comes to conservation movements. However, this label doesn’t do them any justice. The logic behind this is that hunters take animal life, so they’re damaging the environment. While this might be true on a superficial level, it isn’t the case when you look deeper into their contribution to the environment.

Wildlife Population Control

Wildlife

Modern living has thrown off the natural food chain. Whereas we once hunted down our dinner, we can now stop by the store and pick up your dinner. The original food chain system of predator and prey has been disrupted.

The short version of this story is that we’ve left a lot of species – deer especially – without natural predators. If there weren’t any hunters, these species would overpopulate. When this happens, there are less natural resources for animals such as food. Hunters help to keep the natural balance in order.

Helping Endangered and Threatened Species

endangered species

Not only does hunting help with overpopulation but it also helps to give endangered and threatened species as a chance. There are plenty of examples of hunters and their conservation efforts bringing species back from the brink.

A popular species that hunters interact with is whitetail deer. In 1900, there were an estimated 500,000 whitetails left. With the help of hunters’ conservation efforts, the whitetail population is thriving with a population of over 32 million.

Another example of this is wild turkeys. In 1900, the population dropped below 650,000. Today, the population has been cultivated to higher than 7 million today.

Pittman-Robertson Act

If there’s one thing that’s universally true about hunting, it’s that it isn’t a cheap endeavor. Of course, there are some expenses that aren’t necessarily dedicated to solely hunting. For instance, a fireproof safe to keep your firearms in plain sight and secure.

pittman-robertson act

The regulation of hunting funds can be traced back to the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937. This is often shortened to the Pittman-Robertson Act after the senators who sponsored the bill.

This bill ensures that fees from hunting have an excise tax. This includes sporting firearms and ammunition. These tax fees are funneled directly into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. State wildlife sources can collect the same funds through state taxes on costs such as hunting licenses.

On a federal level, the Pittman-Robertson Act has generated $14 billion for conservation efforts since its implementation in 1937.

Federal Duck Stamp

The Federal Duck Stamp is another endeavor that allows both hunters and non-hunters to contribute to wildlife conservation in the United States. The act was originally introduced in 1934. Duck hunters are required to purchase these duck stamps.

federal duck stamp

These stamps – aside from functioning as a traditional stamp – also grants you free entry into any National Wildlife Refuge in the country.

When the stamps are purchased, the law dictates that 98% of the profit from that sale are used for conservation. Specifically, these donations go to preserving wetlands and similar habitats. While this fee doesn’t earn quite as much as the Pittman-Robertson Act, it’s still racked up an impressive $800 million since 1934.

Share First-Hand Information

To properly protect the environment, we need to learn about it. The best way to learn about the environment is to study it first-hand. Yet, if you simply go traipsing through an environment, you’re going to disrupt animal behavior and get skewed information.


This is where hunters come in. To be a skilled hunter, you have to be able to navigate the environment you’re in without announcing your presence. This allows them to share information with wildlife service from first-hand observation.

Lend to Natural Food Gathering

natural food

There are a lot of rather alarming stories go around about the treatment of commercially farmed animals. The chicken you pick up at the grocery store breaks from the natural mold. Instead, these animals are raised in close quarters with no time to exercise and pumped with antibiotics. These inhumane methods are all to deliver a large, beautiful steak to your dinner table.

This is a practice that hunters can essentially boycott during and after hunting season by catching their own food. This comparison is also important because it addresses the myth that the act of killing in, essentially, brutal. But, hunters put a heavy emphasis on a quick, clean kill. This makes for a more environmentally-friendly way to put food on the table compared to industrial farming.

At the end of the day, hunters deeply respect the world around them. True hunters don’t strive to conquer their environment but to thrive off it just like any other animal. The last thing they want is to see their ecosystems suffer. All in all, the anti-conservationist image that many label hunters with is the opposite of the truth – they’re actually some of the biggest contributors to conservation today.

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Posted in: Pro Staff Blog
Gregory Beckman

About the Author:

Hi, I am Gregory Beckman, as the main owner of Military Hunting and Fishing let me tell you a little bit more about myself. I am currently an active duty member in the United States Coast Guard. I have been privileged to traveling the world. My experiences have shaped the way that I see the world and my memories will stick with me for a lifetime. Although I may not live in the country, the country lives in me. Traveling the world I have had the chance to experience the wonders of nature in many different places, meeting many different people and tasting wild game that the normal person would not get to experience. Although these experiences have kept me away from home, it has instilled a deep passion of hunting and fishing in my blood. Thank you for joining our site, and I look forward to interacting and sharing stories of our hunting adventures. Gregory A. Beckman