Following the money
At the end of last week there was good news regarding the return of protections to segments of the grey wolf population. Those with political power had yet again shown their willingness to use wildlife as pawns in ever more antagonistic battles on both the state and the national stages.
Perhaps to ameliorate the bitter pill somewhat with their constituencies, DOI closely followed the wolf relisting with news of record funds to states for traditional wildlife conservation uses. Let’s unpack briefly whether it is completely accurate that all of the guns, ammo, equipment, boat fuel, etc. is actually purchased ONLY by hunters. Well, actually it is not….various estimates seem to hover around 20-25% with the rest being bought for home safety, target shooters, fuel for recreational boating, etc. etc. It is commendable that this large excise tax is willingly paid by uses to return to fund conservation efforts- but the user group is not exclusive. Other outdoor recreationists could certainly step up and support the recurrently emerging ‘backpack’ tax.
Diverse funding of conservation as well as diverse representation when decisions are being made about wildlife are priority issues.