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Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting

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To achieve this mission, we advocate for the Refuge System with national and local decision-makers; educate and mobilize communities across the country in partnership with our nearly 190 refuge "Friends" affiliate organizations; and engage diverse partners to conserve critical wildlife habitat in refuge landscapes."

NWRA is very much pro-hunting, supporting the sale of the "Duck Stamp" as a federal waterfowl-hunting license with proceeds going towards the purchase or lease of additional wetlands and grasslands refuge habitat [53]. NWRA permits sport hunting in most of its refuges, with seasonal limitations, regulations on hunting ranges and bag limits, types of weapons and ammunition used, and so forth; for instance, at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska, only non-toxic shot may be used, and the use of dogs for hunting coyotes is not permitted. Otherwise hunting regulations are determined by the state [54].

Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) [edit]

In 1995, NWRA initiated a national coalition of 22 "wildlife, sporting, conservation, and scientific organizations." This Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) is primarily intended to raise money for the National Wildlife Refuge System. "Representing over 15 million Americans who enjoy refuges for wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, recreational pursuits and conservation, we remain dedicated to working together to ensure that Congress provides the Refuge System with adequate funding for the responsible management, operations and maintenance of the world's largest network of wildlife conservation lands for the benefit of the fish and wildlife it sustains and for future generations of Americans." Signed on February 3, 2010, many of the coalition members present themselves as environmental organizations but seem to support recreational hunting [55]. The organizations also each provide their individual rationales for joining CARE [56].

The members of CARE are:

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  • American Birding Association
  • American Fisheries Society
  • American Sportfishing Association
  • Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
  • Izaak Walton League of America
  • Marine Conservation Biology Institute
  • National Audubon Society
  • National Rifle Association of America
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • National Wildlife Refuge Association
  • Safari Club International
  • The Corps Network
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Wilderness Society
  • The Wildlife Society
  • Trout Unlimited
  • U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
  • Wildlife Forever
  • Wildlife Management Institute
The Nature Conservancy [edit]

Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy's stated aim is "to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive." The Nature Conservancy works in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries, addressing threats to conservation such as climate change. Hunting and fishing are permitted on several Nature Conservancy owned preserves [57], and "The Conservancy has worked with hunting and fishing organizations on projects large and small."[58] The Nature Conservancy also supports wildlife "management" projects to eliminate "invasive species," claiming that relocation and sterilization are ineffective [59].

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) [edit]

In 1984, four hunters from Troy, Montana founded RMEF "to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat."[60] Today they have over 550 chapters, and count Federal Cartridge, Hunter's Specialities, North American Hunter, Remington, Sportsman's Warehouse, and other similar corporations among their official sponsors [61].

Sierra Club [edit]

Founded in 1892, Sierra Club's mission statement is "To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives." Sierra Club frequently partners with hunters on various projects [62][63], and a Sierra Club leader was elected as Vice President of the League of Kentucky Sportsmen [64].

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Sierra Club actively seeks out partnerships with hunters and anglers [65][66], and promotes the use of "ecofriendly" ammunition [67]. The Sierra Sportsmen Network has its own page on the Sierra Club website, and promotes introducing children to hunting as well. Sierra Club's policy on sport hunting and fishing is that "Wildlife and native plant management should emphasize maintenance and restoration of healthy, viable native plant and animal populations, their habitats, and ecological processes. Acceptable management approaches include both regulated periodic hunting and fishing when based on sufficient scientifically valid biological data and when consistent with all other management purposes and when necessary total protection of particular species or populations. Because national parks are set aside for the preservation of natural landscapes and wildlife, the Sierra Club is opposed to sport hunting in national parks."

Western Watersheds Project (WWP) [edit]

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Idaho, WWP works to improve public lands management in eight western states, focusing in particular on the negative impact of livestock grazing. [68] "WWP's scope of influence assures the agility and readiness necessary to promote recreational, hunting, fishing, wildlife, watershed, and water quality values across the west."[69] While WWP advocates for protection from hunting for endangered species and several predators, in general they are "not opposed to hunting of game species"[70], and part of their advocacy platform to protect wolves from hunting rests on the argument that more wolves will not significantly diminish the availability of "game" animals such as ungulates for hunting [71].

WildEarth Guardians [edit]

Founded in 1989 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, WildEarth Guardians began as Forest Guardians, merging with a large carnivore protection non-profit in 2008 to become WildEarth Guardians. Their programs focus on wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, climate and energy. [72] WildEarth Guardians has many programs dedicated to preventing hunting of specific species -- particularly carnivores such as mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and wolves -- and wants to abolish federal wildlife killing, particularly aerial gunning practices [73]. They also monitor state wildlife management to ensure that endangered species receive the protection they are entitled to by law.

However, WildEarth Guardians do not oppose sport hunting in general, and have worked with hunters on various projects, such as providing training courses to hunters to educate them on how to avoid over-hunting. According to Membership Communications Director Lori Colt, "Our organization is not anti-hunting, as we have done pro-active cougar hunter training in Colorado and New Mexico to save female cougars from being over-hunted. We do not have a policy with respect to hunting, although we are working to ban trapping in New Mexico."[74]

The Wilderness Society [edit]

Founded in 1935, The Wilderness Society's goal is "to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places."[75] They claim to use science as the foundation for all the work they do on issues such as wilderness, global warming, energy, roadless forests, and stewardship. The Wilderness Society portrays hunting in a positive light, stating that "Many hunters and anglers prize wilderness for its hunting and fishing opportunities, and for the ability to hunt without having game harassed or habitat degraded by motorized vehicles."[76]

One of The Wilderness Society's most recent campaigns, to "protect" the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands in South Dakota, will permit hunting: "Protecting Buffalo Gap National Grassland will establish a lasting legacy for future generations of South Dakotans and all Americans," said Bart Koehler Senior Wilderness Campaigns Director at The Wilderness Society. "Local compatriots have come together to build a bedrock grassroots approach to protect this treasured area so that grazing, hunting and other activities can continue."[77] In addition, the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 is adding 20,000 acres to wilderness: "Wilderness protection is reserved for federal lands that rank high in scenery, biological diversity and recreational opportunities. Once added to the National Wilderness Preservation System, the areas are protected in perpetuity from logging, mining and road building but remain open to traditional recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding on existing trails and roads."[78]

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Wildlife Forever [edit]

Started in 1987, Wildlife Forever has funded over 600 projects in the U.S. and Canada, "through private special interest conservation groups, state game and fish departments and federal agencies. Wildlife Forever projects target research, management, land acquisition, and educational purposes. Special emphasis is placed upon grassroots programs."[79] Wildlife Forever acquires land for "public recreation," including hunting, constructs and places bird and waterfowl nesting structures, and does GPS "research" on wildlife, as well as supporting fish hatcheries and controlled burning of forests. Their mission is "to conserve America's wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife."

Wildlife Forever takes a strong stance on the prevention and eradication of "invasive species"[80], partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, several state's Departments of Natural Resources, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Sportsman's Club of Lake Vermillion, and the North American Fishing Club to address the issue. According to their website, "Whether you simply like to watch wildlife or you like to hunt and fish, your favorite outdoor past-time is being threatened. Invasive species are destroying the habitat and food sources of America's fish and wildlife."

Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) [edit]

"Founded in 1911, WMI is a private, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization, dedicated to the conservation, enhancement and professional management of North America's wildlife and other natural resources." WMI was established by sportsmen wanting to conserve wildlife populations in their natural habitats. "WMI works mostly on request with federal and provincial agencies, Congress, college and university researchers and educators, other private conservation organizations, and professional associations. It advises, testifies and, in a variety of other ways, provides educational services on timely wildlife-related issues." "WMI supports the wise use of wildlife, including regulated recreational hunting of designated populations. WMI endorses the proposition of game management, the concept of biological diversity and principles of ecology."[81]

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Recent Psychology PhD graduate in the process of moving to Canada to begin my postdoctoral career working with kids. Also love animals, the outdoors, travel, cooking, drawing, movies, music and photography.

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Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting