By Greg Tubbs | PUBLISHED December 20th, 2021
What do you think of when you hear someone mention conservation? My mind immediately goes to some of the most prominent outdoor groups: Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The list goes on! A quick Google search defines conservation as the care and protection of our natural resources so that they can persist for future generations. Conservation seeks humans' sustainable use of nature for activities such as hunting, logging, or mining. At the same time, conservation means protecting nature from human use.
Organizations like the ones mentioned have raised millions in funding to help restore habitat and give future generations a chance to experience hunting their query in quality environments. A lot goes into this behind the scenes, from fundraising banquets to putting in the field's work. It's a labor of love for sure.
What about the unseen acts of conservation? Picking up trash from land and waterways and managing the land and the animals that live on the property are big keys to ensuring the entire environment's future health. I'm talking about hunting and mitigating invasive species of plants and possibly animals that threaten the survival of the native species. These are essential things! Last winter Eric and his daughter we cutting down invasive plant species on public lands through the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, for example. As a 2% for Conservation partner, Okayest Hunter volunteers one percent of our time and one percent of our annual revenue towards conservation.
It's important to note how hunters support wildlife and conservation efforts.
- Regulated hunting has never caused a wildlife population to become threatened or endangered.
- Hunting is an effective wildlife management tool. Hunters play an essential role by providing information from the field that wildlife managers can use to inform wildlife management efforts.
- Revenue from hunting licenses is a primary source of funding for wildlife management. It has helped many game and non-game species recover from dwindling populations.
One thing we don't consider enough is the conservation of our lifestyle as hunters and anglers. To me, This is not a sport. It's part of my yearly routine. I thoroughly enjoy Duck and Deer hunting in the fall and pursuing small game and upland birds in the winter. I also look forward to fishing Walleye and Bluegill and hunting Turkey in the spring.
Fine-tuning my ability to cook wild game has been something I enjoyed, too. I take pride in going to my freezer and choosing what kind of meat I want to prepare for dinner. Experimenting with more ways to grill or use the cast iron skillet also ensures my wife, family, and friends will enjoy consuming the wild game I bring home, too. If venison or other wild game isn't cared for or cooked correctly, it can literally leave a bad taste in someone's mouth.
This lifestyle is critically important to me. Unfortunately, somewhere, someone is trying to take these privileges away. Why do you suppose that is? I certainly do not have those answers. If you're not careful, social media can paint us, outdoorsmen and women, in a bad light. Sometimes we have some not-so-upstanding characters in the outdoor community that does not help our cause. It only takes one lousy "grip and grin" picture, and it's instant chaos. It's my opinion that the neck not ought to bit the head off. We are all on the same team. Whether you're foraging for morel mushrooms, pheasant hunting, elk hunting, or simply hiking we are all finding ways to soothe our souls and enjoy our time on our county's breathtaking lands. Once we realize we're all on the same team, we can do more for conservation as a whole to help protect our heritage and lifestyle. Hopefully, we can even bring more folks into the fold to ensure access to our public land and query to hunt lasts for generations to come!
Here are some basic ways you can help support conservation. Of course, we're open to ideas you might have as well!
- You can donate to organizations and causes related to what you care about most if you're short on time
- Conversely, if you don't have deep pockets, you can donate your time and volunteer
- Become a member of a conservation effort or organization
- Buy hunting tags or licenses, even if you don't intend on filling them
- Sam Soholt has done a great job leading on some of these efforts with his Stamp it Forward initiative
- Adopt a highway
- Pick up trash as you're out and about, scouting, or hunting
Conservation is important to us, and we give a damn about it. We intend to do our part, albeit small, to keep this lifestyle we love around for generations to come! The feeling you get from simply being outdoors is something everyone should experience.