WHAT IS WILDLIFE WORTH?
By Montana Grant

Posted: November 28, 2021

Natural Resources have value. We pay our Dept. of Natural Resources, Fish and Game, or Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to manage and protect these important, and perishable resources.

Not everyone is a hunter or fishermen. These folks simply enjoy having critters to watch and places to visit. Think about the tourists that visit Yellowstone Park. Many think it is a zoo. To others wildlife is Bambi, Winnie the Pooh, Donald Duck, and other names of critters that talk and live-in pretty places.

As Sportsmen, we need to educate others and remind ourselves about perceptions. The pictures we display, the carcasses in our rigs, the clothing we wear, the words and pictures that we speak or post, and the way we behave, impacts the sport for all hunters and sportsmen. Poaching, trespassing, dumping carcasses, crude comments and bumper stickers define what slob sportsmen are.

Therefore, it is getting harder to find access, recruit new Sportsmen, and celebrate our sports in more positive ways. Whether we are talking about camping, boating, mountain biking, hiking, fishing or hunting, our actions, trash, and behavior send out a message.

Natural Resources are supposed to be owned by no-one and everyone at the same time. Publicly managed fisheries and game populations should be equally shared. This “Public Domain” doctrine defines what and how management is regulated.

Licenses pay for the staff, materials, and needs of wildlife and fishery managers. Access sites, trailheads, Block Management, parks, campgrounds, and other publicly accessible areas are supported by these fees. When we all follow the rules and behaviors, our outdoor playgrounds stay open for business.

Ironically, Hunters and Fishermen pay most of the bills. Non hunters pay little or no fees and get to use the resources, public areas, and developed places. They also tend to be the loudest voices.

Many voters, that do not hunt or fish, make choices based upon personal experience. If they experienced a bloody carcass dumped in their field, trash along the waterways and campsites, erosion from wheelers, dirt bikes, and mountain bike traffic, poachers and violators, damage to their property, or the typical repugnant behaviors that non ethical sportsmen routinely portray, then don’t be surprised when things change.

 Currently, Hunters and Fishermen are important Management tools used by our Outdoor Agencies. If we want a future with hunting and fishing, for ALL citizens, we need to present ourselves respectfully. If we don’t, Sportsmen will find themselves wanting and without our wonderful wild places. WE are ALL Responsible to protect and conserve our Natural Resources.

Natural Resources, Fisheries, and Wildlife are priceless. They are also perishable.

Montana Grant