As the years have gone by I have realized that not everybody is exactly like me. Who would have guessed? Just like we all live the way we want, we all hunt the way we want. Some choose to drive deer, yet others use tree stands. You can use 100 decoys or you can use six. Rifle or bow, 12 gauge or 20 gauge? The differences are many and the reasons why are even more abundant. Through it all one thing remains constant. A common thread that weaves the fibers of our differences into a blaze orange coat we all share. Hunting has evolved throughout its long history and with it so have hunters.
The North American Model of Conservation may be the greatest thing ever invented. The best part, that the wildlife and land belongs to everyone. Yes, it actually says that. “Whilst the fundamental principles upon which the common property in game rests have undergone no change, the development of free institutions has lead [sic] to the recognition of the fact that the power or control lodged in the State, resulting from the common ownership, is to be exercised, like all other powers of government, as a trust for the benefit of all people, and not as a prerogative for the advantage of the government, as distinct from the people, or for the benefit of private individuals as distinguished from the public” (161 U.S. 519, 1896). Wildlife is for all of us, period. End of story.
Stop and think about how lucky you are as a sportsman or sportswoman to live in a country that values wildlife and conservation. Not only does it benefit hunters, but it benefits everybody. And it should stay that way. In light of recent events at Malheur Wildlife Refuge and other groups wanting to put public lands up for sale to highest bidder, it is time that hunters come together. We are all different, there is no denying that. However, we all have one thing in common. A love for wildlife and conservation. It is that thread that binds us all together. If we don’t all come together to ensure that OUR public lands stay OUR public lands, you can bet that someone with a pocket full of cash will step in to take them for themselves. I encourage every hunter to become involved in not only this issue, but all conservation related issues. I also invite you to visit www.sportsmanaccess.org. I am in no way connected with this organization and gain nothing from telling you to visit their website, only to help ensure future generations have access to public land. While on the website, sign the petition. By signing the petition and filling out some basic information you send a letter via email to your local senator saying you want to keep public lands public. As hunters we are all in this together. The wildlife can’t speak for themselves, so hunters must.