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Webb Weekly is a family-oriented newspaper direct mailed to over 58,000 homes each week.

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South Williamsport, PA
United States

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The Roving Sportsman… Hunters Should Be Respected

Hunters are the “salt of the earth.” Unfortunately, the ones who usually make the news are the occasional slob hunter or poacher. They are the ones who seem to be talked about most often, especially by those who hold some degree of opposition to hunting in general and usually know little about the subject or

Hunters are the “salt of the earth.” Unfortunately, the ones who usually make the news are the occasional slob hunter or poacher. They are the ones who seem to be talked about most often, especially by those who hold some degree of opposition to hunting in general and usually know little about the subject or have never experienced the joy of it all. As with most groups of people, be it blue collar workers, white collar professionals or retired folks, they can generally be defined by a bell curve, with a small percentage at the top and the bottom and the bulk of the group falling somewhere in the middle. With reference to hunting, the small percentage at the bottom represents the “bad guys” or takers, with the same small percentage at the top representing the greatest contributors, or givers, and the bulk somewhere in the middle consisting of those who enjoy hunting, and do so ethically while they also add to the financial contribution made by all hunters.

It is today’s hunters who are the greatest contributors to the conservation efforts made on behalf of all wildlife – not just the species that they may prefer to pursue. There are many species-specific organizations today that focus their attention on one type of animal or bird, such as the National Wild Turkey Federation or the Quality Deer Management Association. Each of these, as well as the other conservation groups, has youth oriented programs, education and safety-related programs, and devotes a great deal of time and money to conservation efforts. In their conservation interests, conventions, conferences and seminars are held, wherein how-to information is shared regarding developing food plots and managing both woods and fields to benefit wildlife by improving both cover areas and food sources. The greatest side benefit made by each conservation group is that whatever work is done on behalf of one species will also benefit most other species that already inhabit the area.

Fund-raising banquets are held throughout the state and all across the US to raise needed dollars for conservation. Some of the monies are used at a national level for the various outreach programs, but dollars also come back to the local level for dedicated programs including habitat improvement, youth programs and recruitment of female hunters. Equipment usage and material purchases, such as the required amounts of lime, fertilizer and seeds for food plots are sometimes funded by the monies raised through the banquet system. The hunters who are members of these various organizations also devote their time and energy as the dedicated volunteers who work to create the cover areas, plant the food plots and add a variety of seedlings and shrubs to enhance the existing habitat.

A great number of non-hunters really are just not aware of how much work hunters accomplish in the name of conservation. It is this work that ultimately benefits not just all wildlife, but also benefits all people who enjoy the wildlife. It has not been that long ago that the wild turkeys numbers throughout the United States were in serious decline. Through the establishment of the National Wild Turkey Federation and through their work with state agencies and volunteers (usually hunters), those dwindling numbers of turkeys are now at a level that supports a viable hunting season in each of the 48 continental states plus Hawaii. Through the continued management efforts of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the help of volunteers, our state herd of elk has grown to a size that now allows a hunting season to maintain the herd size at a sustainable level. The wild turkey and the elk are both great examples of how the efforts of hunters now provide the opportunity for everyone to enjoy seeing and studying these great creatures.

The general public needs to be aware that for most hunters, it is just not the taking of game that is the most important consideration; it is doing the work that is necessary to protect and conserve all wildlife for future generations to enjoy that is critical. Just as we truly need to thank a veteran for all of the freedoms that we enjoy in this great and unique country of ours, we also need to thank a hunter for the rich abundance of wildlife that we all enjoy! Responsible and ethical hunters should be respected for the time, energy and money that they so generously expend on behalf of ensuring the future of all wildlife!

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