Pick up the newspaper on almost any given day and you will likely read about someone threatening to go on strike. It seems to be a popular tactic in the airlines industry, in particular. Name just about any major carrier and there will be a history of strike activity or talk. Heck, even our professional sports teams occasionally go on strike sometimes leaving us without summer baseball or winter hockey. No doubt about it the talk and threat of going on strike is a hard-core tactic employed by a large number of workers out in the work force.
But what about hunters? What if we threatened to go on strike? Sounds ludicrous…maybe, but consider the impact that action would have on our society. Society in general takes hunters for granted and we’ve learned by watching the media that one of the best ways to gain attention to a cause is to start talking strike. Okay, now granted getting people to lay down their guns and bows for a few years would not be a popular request…but it would have considerable economic impact.
“According to a report released last year by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Potential Costs of Losing Hunting and Trapping as Management Practices, four percent of the nation’s 6.1 million auto accidents reported to the police—or 247,000 incidents—involved direct collisions with animals, as indicated by the Center for Disease Control and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Deer are involved in 86.9 percent of injury cases. If hunting were lost as a wildlife management tool, state wildlife agencies estimate an additional 50,000 injuries per year, and $3.8 billion in additional auto repair costs.”
Do you think with an extra 50,000 injuries per year due to wildlife-related car accidents that would spur a public outcry to get hunters back into the woods? Do you think with all of us paying a bit more for our vehicle insurance because of the increased repair costs this would prod the public to encourage hunters to get back into the woods? Hard to tell…but the point I am trying to make here is as a group sportsman have some definite clout and perhaps it’s time the public realizes that our actions in the woods accomplishes much more than just a little relaxation on the weekend.
Truth is hunters are indeed a very important management tool helping to control wildlife populations. Game departments regulate the seasons…but hunters operating within that established framework regulate wildlife levels to keep population levels healthy and manageable.
Indeed, I believe sportsmen have more clout than perhaps we sometimes realize. If we didn’t hunt for a few years think of how out of control the deer would get eating the farmer’s corn fields. Think of how disease would start running rampant among many wildlife populations because that’s what often happens when numbers get out of control. Imagine how the tourist industry would be impacted by hunters suddenly not traveling to their old hunting haunts and spending money in the community while they are there. Life would suffer for lots of folks.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not about to start a crusade suggesting hunters should go on strike just to prove a point. Still, it remains an interesting concept in my mind how some classes of citizens will do just that to showcase some plight in their industry or workplace. I have to believe if ever hunters chose to use that tactic OR if society mistakingly shuts down our beloved activities…there would eventually be a big price to pay by everyone.
When a hunter treks out into the field or woods to bag a pheasant, waylay a deer, or perhaps even to shoot a cunning canine…there is much more than just sport involved. In some small way each hunter contributes by performing a very necessary population control function in our wild world. As wild lands become more scarce with each passing year…and many animal populations continue on the rise…the hunter is society’s single most important resource to maintain some balance in our natural world. Let there be no doubt about it without hunting we would all be paying a much higher price to exist—one way or another.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.