There are people in this world who think hunters are the evilest things in the world. And yes, they actually use the word “things” in their minds. They don’t care if humans have hunted since the dawn of time, they want the practice to stop. Some of them aren’t even vegans; they just think we should all get our food wrapped in plastic from the grocery store.
Luckily, the Secretary of the Interior isn’t one of those people. He recently signed an order designed to protect big game corridors.
Before a crowd at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Utah last week, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order to protect range routes for antelope, elk and mule deer.
The annual expo, sponsored by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the Mule Deer Foundation, saw Zinke ink Secretarial Order 3362 designed to improve habitat for big game in Western states along their winter range and migration corridors. Zinke said the action aims to make herds healthier for the benefit of hunters and wildlife watchers.
“American hunters are the backbone of big game conservation efforts, and now working with state and private landowners, the Department will leverage its land management and scientific expertise to both study the migration habits of wildlife as well as identify ways to improve the habitat,” Zinke said in a statement.
The order mandates that numerous federal agencies under Interior, such as the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Fish & Wildlife Service work with state conservation agencies to improve habitat for the iconic big game animals with priority given to 11 Western states.
“For example, this can be done by working with ranchers to modify their fences, working with states to collaborate on sage brush restoration, or working with scientists to better understand migration routes,” Zinke said.
The Secretary is right. Hunters are almost universally motivated to protect game species. Most are more than happy to limit how many of an animal they can harvest, or completely forgo hunting a given species if it means more hunts in the future. It’s just how hunters are wired.
Sure, there are jerkwad exceptions. There are those who will take more game than they should, or will hunt out of season, or all different manner of jackwagon-ish behavior. Those are the exception, not the rule.
Zinke understands that, apparently.
By working with hunters, the Secretary shows his understanding that conservation efforts are a partnership.
Yes, hunters will benefit from this move, but so will the game species in question. That’s something even liberals should approve of. While they might not agree with hunting–and anti-hunting isn’t a universal position among liberals from my experience–they do like the idea of helping a species thrive. This helps several.
Of course, considering our current political climate, I firmly expect most liberals–even those who would have applauded such a measure under the Obama administration–to scream bloody murder over it.