humbling it was to be amongst an incredible group of hunters, sportsmen and sportswomen who have all contributed so much to wildlife conservation.
Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan and his team went through various presentations illustrating the positive effects that hunters have on wildlife conservation. The presentations outlined the enormous amount of money raised via Pittman Robertson (over $1.2 billion annually). The economic benefit that international hunters bring to foreign countries was explained, especially the African range nations where the money spent by foreign hunters supports the local economies and funds the anti-poaching efforts. The benefits of feeding the local people, supporting local schools and other humanitarian benefits were outlined.
Conversely, the devastating effects on the wildlife when hunting ceases in those countries was thoroughly explained — Kenya being the best example of what happens to the wildlife population when hunting stops, the poachers move into the area and wipe out the wildlife.
Several firsthand accounts of the poaching was discussed, and it always occurs when hunters leave an area or are prohibited from hunting in those areas. If hunters aren't in the area, it is easy for the poachers to move in.
It was abundantly clear to anyone present that it is hunters who are footing the bill for wildlife conservation! Every hunter around the world knows this. Hunters in the U.S. understand the North American Conservation Model, and how it restored the wildlife in the U.S., thanks to great leaders like Theodore Roosevelt!
BUT the anti-hunting groups that were present, i.e.: The Humane Society of the U.S., Center for Biological Diversity, Born Free, Defenders of Wildlife and others simply chose to ignore the facts and figures provided by the USFWS and other experts, and instead simply read their prepared statements, which were filled with the usual lack of facts.
One individual even resorted to profanity and name calling with regard to President Trump's son and President Trump himself. These anti-hunting organizations personify the old adage… “Don't confuse me with the facts, because my mind is already made up!”
It is time the public took notice of these groups as they do NOTHING for wildlife conservation. They raise funds under the guise of running animal shelters for cats and dogs, yet they simply take in these pets and euthanize them rather than spend the $ to take care of them. It is time that these groups are truthful to their members and supporters as they spend little to zero for on the ground wildlife conservation and anti-poaching programs. It's time for the public to realize that these so called “Animal Welfare” groups are only concerned with raising funds to support themselves while doing nothing for wildlife conservation.
Thankfully, we have organizations like SCI, SCIF, WSF, PF, DSC, HSC, NTWF, and others to support wildlife conservation and habitat protection for the wildlife! Thanks to leaders like Secretary Zinke and Principal Deputy Director Sheehan for bring sound conservation principals based on science rather than emotion to the forefront! The North American Conservation Model is proven to be successful and it is a basic concept can be used throughout the world!