Elk NetworkHunting Is Conservation – Hunting Provides Funding for Wildlife Research

Conservation | June 26, 2020

To ensure the future of thriving populations, it is imperative that professional biologists and managers have a sound understanding of all wildlife.

Scientific research makes that possible.

Research objectives for biologists and scientists include identifying habitat needs for individual species, evaluating the impacts of land use practices, studying the population dynamics of wildlife under varying habitat and environmental conditions, evaluating the social and economic values of wildlife, and then educating other biologists, wildlife resource agencies, legislators and the public about the results of research and the needs of the animals, habitat and the public.

Where does the majority of the funding come from to carry out this research?

It comes from hunting and fishing.

Hunters and anglers provide approximately 60 percent of funding for state fish and wildlife agencies, the organizations that manage wildlife, through the purchase of licenses and fees as well as excise taxes on their guns, ammunition, archery gear and fishing equipment.

Additionally, hunters donate to conservation organizations like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which values ongoing research as vital to its mission of ensuring the future of elk and elk country.

In 2019 alone, RMEF allocated more than $1 million to further elk-related scientific research.

Here are a few of those highlighted studies:

-Elk population and recruitment in northern California.

-The impact of increasing human recreation on declining calf recruitment in Colorado.

-Monitoring elk movement and migration in the Great Smoky Mountains, Greater Yellowstone area and southern Blue Mountains of Oregon.

-The effects of wildfire on elk forage and distribution in Montana.

-The impacts of wolves on elk population dynamics in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

-Cow elk survival in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

-Factors limiting elk population growth in the Book Cliffs of Utah.

-Assisting with construction of an elk hoof disease research facility in Washington and supporting the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance applied research program.

Additionally, hunters provide vital input to state agencies conducting annual surveys to evaluate the sex, age and number of animals harvested in particular areas.

They may also be asked about habitat conditions or predators they observed and other factors that impact the health of all wildlife populations.

When it comes to acquiring proven, scientific knowledge to assist biologists and managers to conserve and ensure the future of wildlife, it is more than evident that Hunting Is Conservation.