As an avid outdoorsman and lifelong sportsman, I believe we can’t do enough to educate the public and the next generation on the importance of the North American model of conservation. This model is a proven success, and it’s vital we continue upon its path and improve where necessary.
Sportsmen and women are the foundation of the conservation movement in North America. Hunters and anglers tend to be the best conservationists on the planet by putting billions back into conservation through habitat management and protection programs. They are responsible for balancing the ecosystem, protecting a wide range of species, and encouraging hunting and fishing traditions that further these efforts.
However, many nations haven’t followed suit in implementing smart, regulated, and honorable hunting and fishing practices, resulting in imbalances in the ecosystem, species overpopulation, and disease outbreaks that oftentimes hit entire populations of wild game. If the North American model of conservation didn’t exist, we would also experience these impacts that have severe consequences on our environment.
The successes of our model are undeniable. Take wild turkeys, for instance, which were an early protein resource and an American tradition from the early years of our Republic. Turkeys were subjected to over hunting which caused eradication from 18 of their native states. By the mid-1900s, turkey numbers rose to a healthy level due to proper hunting restrictions and habitat protections. We can also look to the white-tailed deer, which became scarce during colonial times and continued to see a decline through the 1800s. Sportsmen recognized the issue and began implementing best practices, leading to healthy sized populations in modern times.
There are countless other success stories out there. But there’s work left to be done. Many radical organizations seek to spread misinformation on hunters and anglers and the honorable practices we adhere to. They aim to limit access to our pastimes by restricting Second Amendment rights of Americans and locking up public lands and resources from citizens. These actions would put us on a conservation decline.
Instead of listening to these radical organizations, we should continue education efforts that expose the truth behind responsible hunting and fishing traditions. The next generation needs to know the North American model is the best in the world.
We need more sportsmen and women, not less. I stand with our tried and true model and the next generation of hunters and anglers who will learn to enjoy the rich traditions of our sport and God’s amazing creation. --Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina)