If Hunting Is Conservation, what is anti-hunting?
Conservation is defined as the planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction or neglect.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, supported by hunters, provides funding for conservation in the form of forest thinning, prescribed burns, noxious weed treatments and many other active forest management methods that benefit elk and other wildlife.
But what about environmental groups, many of which are anti-hunting?
Environmentalism is defined as advocacy for the preservation of the natural environment. Preservation itself often refers to a hands-off approach or preventing any type of management activity.
In some places, that may make sense…like backcountry wilderness areas or other sensitive locations.
But there are millions of acres of public forest land at risk of catastrophic wildlife because they’re burdened with overgrown tree stands and decaying deadfall due to decades of fire suppression. Those conditions also choke out the growth of native grass and vegetation on the forest floor, so critical for wildlife forage.
Environmental groups fuel their agendas and pad their bottom-lines by filing multitudes of lawsuits to halt planned active forest management.
Here is one such example.
In west-central Montana, where RMEF completed nearly 30 habitat enhancement projects, a collaborative of conservationists, government representatives, lumber industry and other locals planned what they called the Stonewall Vegetation Project.
Relying on science, the goal was to treat unnaturally overgrown and dead stands to reduce the risk of destructive wildfires and enhance wildlife habitat.
Two anti-management environmental groups, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council, did not take part in collaborate discussions but then filed suit claiming the project would endanger Canada lynx and grizzly populations.
A judge instituted an injunction and downplayed the risk of imminent fire activity.
Just two months later, lightning sparked an 18,000-acre wildfire that scorched the entire project area, closed forest lands and triggered evacuations.
A Forest Service report later showed the litigating groups filed for and received more than $100,000 in reimbursed attorney fees, paid for by taxpayer dollars and at the expense of the forest and wildlife.
The Forest Service since revised the project but the same two environmental groups filed yet another lawsuit, this time in late 2020.
Is that conservation?
Generating crucial funding for conservation, managing wildlife populations and valuing wildlife species…all highlight how Hunting Is Conservation.