Last night I picked up an Economist and a Backpacker mag at the checkout. Before I could think about the heady implications of China’s relations with Myanmar, Writer Bruce Barcott got my attention with an article he penned in the October issue of Backpacker titled; Killer Hike. In it he takes a first stab at hunting from an otherwise granola perspective. I was favorably impressed with the balance he achieved by interviewing both Bruce Fredrich of PETA and motor city madman-come hunting luminary Ted Nugent. In quick order, Barcott purchases a firearm, takes a hunter safety course, belly-crawls up a bluff, and is then faced with having to decide whether to pull the trigger on a Mulie.
Barcott writes that, (links supplied):
…The outdoor world suffers from a binary split. We are hikers or hunters, two cultures divided by a chasm of ignorance and mistrust. We wear Patagonia R2® Fleece or Mossy Oak Break-Up® Camouflage.
…In the 1930s, conservation-minded hunters crafted the Pittman-Robertson Act, which established some of the nation’s first habitat-restoration programs using gun and ammunition excise taxes. Last year, $300 million in gun and ammo tax went into conservation programs-and that’s to say nothing of the more than $1 billion collected in hunting and fishing permit fees.
…According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service the number of americans who hunt has fallen 25% since 1980…Whitetail deer are over populated in 73% of their range.
As many of you know we sell fishing AND hunting licenses.
With the start of bow season today, we’ve been busily writing Maryland hunting licenses for the better part of the month. Many of these licenses are purchased from folks from just across the MD/PA line. The average cost for a non-resident hunting license sold in the shop is $180. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service 2009-2010 Maryland Annual Deer Report indicates that:
Deer hunting in 2006 generated over $113 million in retail sales with a total multiplier effect of over $190 million contributed to Maryland’s economy. Deer hunting in Maryland supports nearly 2,300 jobs and generates $71 million in salaries, wages, and business owner’s income, $15 million in state and local tax revenue, and $16 million in federal tax revenue.
For years, the sentiment expressed by most anglers in the shop has been that it’s far kinder to actually hunt deer intentionally than obtain them unwittingly on the hoof with a car bumper. With no shortage of deer in Maryland, (over 100,000 deer were harvested in the state during the 2008-2009 season.) I make it a point to thank hunters for there efforts when they stop in the shop and sincerely hope that hunting, now promoted by many under the “green” moniker of population control, continues in Maryland as more than just a storied past time.