There’s a word tossed around a little too freely these days: environmentalist. It is often misused and incorrectly represented. Everyone can agree that an environmentalist is someone that demonstrates concern about the caring and preservation of the environment. Hunters often fall into that category as well. In fact, many hunters are far more environmentally conscientious than anti-hunting activists.
With the greater attempt to designate areas for ecological protection, an unexpected side effect can be the threatening of that preserved area by the species that live within its boundaries. Population control of indigenous species can have a profound impact on the preservation of their own habitat. When left unchecked, it is amazing how devastating an animal population can be to the environment.
Anti-hunting does not equate to being an environmentalist. Many people fail to realize or understand the strict controls and constraints placed upon hunters to maximize the positive impact of hunting on an ecosystem.
An excellent example is a case in which snow geese overpopulation in the late 1990’s was destroying areas in the arctic region. The U.S. Fish and wildlife Service and their Canadian counterpart conducted a tour of the affected areas inviting anti-hunting organizations to participate. After witnessing the environmental damage first-hand caused by the overpopulation of snow geese, all parties concluded that the best solution was to thin the population. It was determined that a possible reason for the overpopulation was not related to the narrowing of a habitat, but rather the abundance of wheat and corn fields that were directly in line with the migratory patterns of the snow geese, combine with over-protection of the birds.
One of the effective actions that came out of that study was to allow regulated hunting of the birds to control the population and protect many other species that were being negatively impacted by the snow geese. Hunters were part of the solution: because they are environmentalists.