Renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold said, “I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.”
Deer can have profound negative impacts on a given habitat, especially if the population is larger than a given landscape can support.
Wildlife managers say a healthy forest can support 8 to 15 deer per square mile yet some localized areas, especially in the eastern United States, have 30 to 50 or an even much higher percentage
That is where hunting plays a crucial, beneficial role.
Regulated hunting helps biologists manage deer numbers, and that benefits biodiversity as a whole.
Overbrowsing by deer alters the composition and structure of forest habitats by targeting specific plant species, not allowing them to repopulate.
That includes stunting the growth and spread of trees species, such as aspen, by not allowing new offshoots to grow on the forest floor below.
Research also shows forest songbirds cannot nest in many shrubs hard hit by overbrowsing.
Additionally, hunting reduces the prevalence of Lyme disease carried by deer, helps manage the spread of chronic wasting disease and assists with a reported $28 billion dollars in annual wildlife damage to crops, landscaping and infrastructure.
Hunter-generated funding also benefits on the ground conservation work that permanently protects landscapes, pays for projects to enhance wildlife habitat and helps conserve big game as well non-game species, songbirds and aquatic life.
Managing wildlife populations, improving biodiversity, promoting conservation and valuing wildlife…it is more than evident that Hunting Is Conservation.