Letter to the Editor: To avoid wasting wildlife, we want much less looking, no more | Opinion

A recent Letter to the Editor in support of Sunday hunting contained some common—but harmful—misconceptions.

Despite the narrative that hunters consistently try to sell to the public, wildlife organizations and non-hunter efforts have played key roles in bringing back and protecting America’s iconic species—after hunters pursued them with reckless abandon.

While the Pittman-Robertson Act has contributed large sums to habitat restoration and other initiatives, it didn’t do so with hunter dollars. Less than 4 percent of the US population hunts, and the 96% who enjoy nonlethal outdoor recreation still pay the federal excise tax on sporting equipment that the act established.

They also spend large sums at parks and wilderness areas, including on entrance, camping, and parking fees. Nevadans for Responsible Wildlife Management analyzed funding for US wildlife programs and found that about 95% of federal funding, 88% of nonprofit funding, and 94% of total funding for wildlife conservation and management come from the non-hunting public.

And far from “preventing overpopulation,” hunters cause it. Deer reproduce based on food and habitat availability. After a hunt, the resultant spike in both causes increased breeding and more sets of twins. That’s why, after decades of gunning down deer in massive numbers, they’re still deemed to be “overpopulated.”

Hunters’ efforts aren’t focused on protecting the ecosystem, but on ensuring themselves plenty of living targets.

Michelle K. Reynolds is a Research Specialist in the Wildlife and Hunting Issues department of The PETA Foundation.

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