The anti-hunter argument that having the choice to hunt does not mean one must hunt, unlike wildlife’s necessity to prey on other animals to survive, is shortsighted, narrow-minded and not clearly understood.
In today’s world, there is a growing disconnect for many in understanding the origins of the food we eat and the important role hunting plays in our own food security.
If there were no hunting and the millions of hunters feeding their families had to suddenly go to the grocery store to purchase beef, pork, poultry or other meat to replace what they cannot hunt, it would cripple the U.S. agriculture infrastructure and create an immediate food security crisis.
For example…in 2018, resident hunters in Wyoming sustainably harvested 25,091 elk. According to a University of Wyoming study, an average bull elk yields 218 pounds of meat while an average cow elk yields 169 pounds of meat. If you do the math, those hunters acquired approximately 4.6 million pounds of protein to feed their families.
If you look at that number in terms of meals, say 6 ounces per meal, 4.6 million pounds of elk meat translates into a heathy serving of protein to feed 12.2 million Americans.
You can then take that amount of meat and multiply it by the number of successful elk hunters nationwide. That 4.6 million pounds of elk meat increases exponentially and it is done sustainably.
Then take into account the more than one million whitetail and mule deer harvested annually, plus pronghorn, moose, wild turkey, ducks, geese, upland birds and other wild game taken by hunters…
If you removed all of that from the freezers of the nation’s more than 10 million hunters, there would be a run on grocery stores, butcher shops and other meat producers causing a food security crisis of epic proportions with shortages and triggering severe prices hikes for any meat that would even be available.
Here’s a more personal example—mine.
From 2008 to 2016, my son and I took four cow elk –or about 700 combined pounds of meat– that we processed ourselves into steaks, roasts, stew meat, ground burger and jerky. We also harvested 10 to 12 deer – or about another 700 pounds of meat.
That’s how we fed our family of six…all…by hunting within about 60 miles of our home. And because we had all that organic protein, we rarely –if ever– purchased any beef product from the grocery store over that entire nine-year span.
Now, multiply that scenario by the more than 10 million hunters across America –many of whom also feed their families from harvested wild game and you again see the impact.
Therefore, hunting plays a key and necessary role in providing nourishment at America’s dinner tables.
When you combine that knowledge with hunting being the top wildlife management tool, hunter-generated dollars are as the primary source of funding for state and federal wildlife agencies, and excise taxes on hunting equipment so far generated more than $12.5 billion specifically for conservation over the last 75 years, it’s more than evident that Hunting is Conservation.