In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”Theodore RooseveltTheodore Roosevelt was a man of action. As a hunter, he rallied fellow sportsmen and women, pushed for hunting regulations and established conservation groups to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat. His actions led to the formation of what we now refer to as the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, which highlights two basic principles – that our fish and wildlife belong to all Americans, and that they need to be managed in a way that their populations will be sustained forever.
Individuals can take action as well. In 1937, hunters approved a self-imposed tax on their firearms, ammunition, bows and arrows. The Pittman-Robertson Act has since generated more than $10.1 billion. The revenue generated from the excise tax is doled out to state wildlife agencies which put the money on the ground for conservation efforts, hunter education programs, and shooting projects and programs.
We, as hunters, provide the lion’s share of funding for conservation efforts. And in this highly political age each of us can make a difference. It is incumbent that we become educated on the issues and engaged in the process. We must raise a collective voice for conservation and wildlife or those with polar opposite views will speak for us!
We can take action by using the resources available to us. Go online, use social media to express support for causes and initiatives, reach out to the media, write a letter to the editor, follow issues in your state legislature and in the halls of Congress, and reach out to state wildlife agencies and our lawmakers who make rules and regulations.