You’re (still) The Funding Source of Conservation!

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You’re (still) The Funding Source of Conservation!

Female hunters in oregon

March 16, 2014 – Stan Steele, Chairmen of the Board

You’re (still) The Funding Source of Conservation

The Oregon Outdoor Council believes that the following excerpt from a speech by Conservation Force’s founder, John J. Jackson III, is as relevant today as it was when he presented it nearly fifteen years ago at the Fifth Animal Law Institute, Texas Law Center, Austin, Texas.

Hunting is conservation! Oregon Outdoor CouncilThe Oregon Outdoor Council and our partner hunting, fishing and trapping conservation organizations are currently involved in formulating the 2015 – 2017 operating budget for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  As a participating member of ODFW’s External Budget Advisory Committee (EBAC), OOC will be an ardent and steadfast voice for what hunters, anglers, trappers and recreational shooters need to remain as a viable source of conservation program funding.  Often times we forget and others ignore what the sporting community’s license dollars and our associated federal excise tax programs have accomplished for the past and present conservation of Oregon’s harvestable and non-harvestable wildlife.

Looming license and tag fee increases will be a key component of the EBAC discussion. The OOC strongly believes that as a sporting conservation community, we should not be expected to pay more without having a matching increase in opportunities and a realistic expectation of success.  We believe that only science-based management of our harvestable and non-harvestable wildlife will increase opportunity and probability.

Please take a few minutes to read Mr. Jackson’s remarks and remember that during the ongoing EBAC meetings, OOC will be there to protect Oregon’s wildlife and enhance your right to hunt, fish, trap and recreationally shoot.

The Oregon Outdoor Council would appreciate your comments on ODFW’s budget process and how you think all Oregonians could do a better and more equitable job of financially supporting fisheries and wildlife conservation in Oregon.

The Legally Structured Role of Hunting and Fishing in the United States and Abroad
A Speech by John J. Jackson, III at the Fifth Annual Animal Law Institute, Texas Law Center, Austin, Texas, April 8, 2005

My presentation is not about livestock, farm animals or pets; it’s about the conservation and management of our wildlife and wild places. I am here to help complete the full spectrum of animal law issues.

In the 20th century, America’s wildlife system became the envy of the world. Commonly called the North American Wildlife Model, it has no equal today or in the history of the world. It is a user-pay system primarily funded by legally required hunting and fishing license fees, excise taxes on manufacturers of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and motor-boat fuel taxes. The licensing and taxing of hunters and anglers provides an indispensable $3.8 billion dollars per year in revenue to fund approximately seventy-five percent of state wildlife conservation budgets. That percentage is why it is indispensable.

The system has been the “backbone” of America’s wildlife management and habitat success. (Director, USF&WS) It has restored America’s 230,000 wild sheep, 1 million black bear, 1 million pronghorn antelope, 1.2 million moose, 1.2 million Rocky Mountain elk, 6.4 million wild turkeys, 36 million whitetail deer and up to 105 million waterfowl. (America’s Abundant Game handout). It has also paid for the largest share of conservation of non-game species. Consequently, hunters and anglers have contributed more for wild non-game species than all others in society combined and continue to do so today. Yes, that naturally follows when seventy-five percent is paid by hunters and anglers. Seventy-five percent is seventy-five percent. Whether you like it or not, it is “thank you American sportsmen and sportswomen.”

This government management infrastructure is reinforced by non-government sportsmen’s conservation organizations that also have no equal, such as Ducks Unlimited, the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Wild Turkey Federation, etc. America’s hunters and anglers pay for the law enforcement. They pay for the research. They pay for the management. They pay for the habitat. There are an estimated 147 million different hunters and anglers that lawfully hunt and/or fish every 3 years in the US. They pay everyone and are themselves paid by no one. They are the givers, not the takers.

This user-pay system is the wildlife conservation paradigm and the status quo in North America. It has been the primary force for more than 100 years. All other claims are fiction.

It may be useful to compare this user-pay, sustainable-use system with other legal wildlife regimes. The benefits of this system are easily contrasted with those such as in some South American countries, where all hunting is illegal under those legal regimes – i.e., in principle all is protected. There are no revenues from hunting, so there is little revenue for law enforcement beyond the borders of limited protected areas, less research, less management infrastructure, less management and less habitat. The wildlife is used anyway, but that use is not harnessed to serve, conserve and to protect. The wildlife is poached. It is a poaching paradigm. The potential resource of hunting and fishing is not harnessed by the legal system to provide revenue and conservation incentives or to build and maintain a wildlife management infrastructure. That system proves that if you leave your house empty, thieves will move in.

The popularity of big game hunting in America has grown at an incredible rate over the past 50 years. Basically, it has tracked the rebounding growth in big game animal populations. Big game hunting has never been more popular. (National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Related Recreation, 2001). Those hunters and fisherman have spilled over into foreign countries. Many of the conservation managers in developing nations have been trained right here in the US. They employ all that they have learned. They have learned to use licensed, regulated tourist hunting to conserve wildlife and biodiversity. Unlike resident hunting here in the US, tourist hunting is much higher in revenue, and lower in volume, with even lower biological impact.

Tourist hunting and fishing now provide the revenue means of local and national management authorities and the local and national incentives for wildlife and habitat conservation abroad. The various legal strategies are purposefully designed to use hunting for conservation or to provide conservation through hunting. Game species are hunted to conserve them.

Thank you, and remember it is our mission to Keep Oregon Hunting, Fishing and Trapping.

Stan Steele Oregon Outdoor Council Gary Loomis

Photo Credit: Brent Wojahn

 

 

 

 

 

Stan Steele, Chairman of the Board (Left) – Pictured with Gary Loomis (Front).

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